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NBC, Affiliates Make Deal to Sell TV Over Internet

NBC Universal and its 213 affiliate stations have formed a joint venture to sell news, lifestyle, sports, weather and other video generated by local stations, it was announced Wednesday.

The new company, tentatively called National Broadband Co., is intended to give NBC stations access to millions of dollars in advertising migrating from traditional TV to the Internet.

The joint venture "will allow us to serve the market that seems to have an insatiable appetite for video," said Terry Mackin, chairman of the NBC Affiliates Board.

The company will be majority owned by NBC and offer behind-the-scenes and other video from the NBC Universal library along with footage produced by affiliates.

The new company is still developing a strategy to profit from the hundreds of hours of video produced daily.

Some scenarios discussed during a conference call included selling video to Web portals such as Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) as well as creating a new site where viewers could watch segments produced by local stations.

The joint venture is not likely to include prime time programming that NBC is selling through Internet download services such as Apple Computer Inc.'s (AAPL) iTunes.

The network is in discussions with affiliates about splitting those revenues. But executives said they see a much more lucrative market forming for video produced by local stations.

"Revenue share for portable devices would be very small compared to this business," Mackin said.

NBC Universal is owned by General Electric Co. (GE) and Vivendi Universal SA (V).