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A representative from NBC Universal called us today and let us know that the network did indeed remove its channel from YouTube over the weekend in preparation for the launch of its own online video portal, Hulu. The spokesperson also de-emphasized the YouTube channel, calling it “promotional.”
NBC (GE) agreed at the formation of its joint venture with News Corp. (NWS) that Hulu would be the exclusive online provider of both companies’ content. Hulu will then syndicate the material to other sites, including AOL (TWX), MSN (MSFT), MySpace, and Yahoo (YHOO) — but not (at least not yet) YouTube.
Hulu, which has $100 million in funding from Providence Equity Partners, is supposed to launch in private beta by the end of October, a deadline the NBC representative said the network expected would be met.
NBC has been hot-tempered in its dealings with video distribution companies. A spat between the network and Apple (AAPL) over renegotiating the pricing of their iTunes contract became very public at the end of August. NBC then made an ally out of Amazon, publicizing its content’s availability on Unbox.
Update: YouTube spokesperson Ricardo Reyes said in an emailed statement,
NBC informed us on Friday that they were taking down their branded channel and clips. Our relationship with NBC was a YouTube success story, so we hope NBC decides to post more original content and stay engaged with our users.