It's time to gang up on GooTube. NBC Universal and News Corp. (NYSE: NWS ) are teaming up to launch a video streaming site that will feature clips as well as full-length programming of popular shows. The content will also be distributed through Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX ) AOL, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) , Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) MSN, and News Corp.'s own MySpace.
You didn't see Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) YouTube in there? That's pretty much the point. Before YouTube becomes too powerful, content producers like Fox and NBC want to let the world know that they're still the ones behind the video entertainment wheel.
According to AOL, the distribution partners will be getting a piece of the ad revenue action.
One may see this as a sensitive issue. Google owns 5% of AOL, and isn't this new tag-team sundae a direct affront to Google's viral video superiority?
"Our goal is to provide the largest number of video assets to our audience of more than 100 million unique visitors a month," AOL spokeswoman Anne Bentley notes in an email. "Just as we continue to work closely with Google in search and other areas, we also work closely with other partners."
If you really think about it, that 5% stake means that Google will profit from this partnership anyway. I'm sure that News Corp. and NBC Universal majority-owner General Electric (NYSE: GE ) can live with that. There is nothing stopping YouTube from eventually being the fifth distribution partner here.
The issue really is about regulating the flow of content. So it should come as no surprise to see Google's site launch its YouTube Awards channel this week, promoting the best user-created videos and leaving it up to the community to vote for winners in seven different categories. Now more than ever, YouTube needs to stand out as the platform of choice for original community-concocted leisure. It's where the big studios can't hit. It is the potent playing field where it can take on an army of Hollywood heavyweights.
Here are some of the other recent eye-opening developments at YouTube:
Microsoft is a recommendation in the Inside Value newsletter service. Yahoo! and Time Warner have been singled out in Motley Fool Stock Advisor. Try a free test drive of either newsletter for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a "clip culture" fashion victim. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.