NBC takes the twisted path toward YouTubeville

In a quintessential illustration of old media attempting to be new, NBC launched a broadband video distribution division last fall only to shut it down nine months later. The National Broadcasting Co. pulled the plug on its little National Broadband Co. endeavor, preferring instead to toss in its chips with News Corp. on the project dubbed "NewCo" or "NewSite," depending on the source. The joint venture was presented in March as a YouTube killer that would distribute all those "Saturday Night Live" clips through AOL, MSN, Yahoo and MySpace, which beta launched its video service within that last two weeks.

The media giants are reportedly pegging the value of NewCo/Site at around $1 billion, perhaps with an eye toward Google's $1.65 billion stock trade for YouTube, which actually had videos. And a player. And a bunch of users.

Meanwhile, NBBC's 150 or so partners were said to receive a lovely "Dear John" e-note giving them 30 days to cut new deals with NewCo/Site.

Former Amazon executive Jason Kilar becomes CEO of the new venture July 9, taking over for interim project head George Kliavkoff, NBCU's chief digital officer.

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