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NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) continues its niche investment strategy by picking up 35 percent of DriverTV for about $6 million … WSJ reported NBCU’s investment and we’ve confirmed the amount. We also can report that the investment is by NBCU Digital sans involvement from the Peacock Equity Fund and that the agreement gives NBCU rights to acquire a majority stake and an option to buy it outright at different milestones. DriverTV, a web site and VOD channel (*Comcast*, Cox, TW), produces and distributes high-quality video aimed at car shoppers. With the investment, NBCU becomes part-owner along with Radical Media, the programming-and-advertising production company that launched DriverTV.
The car companies pay DriverTV to create the three-minute videos, then the channel gets paid for each addition view after the guarantee. We’re told the company is already profitable; as the Journal notes, it has $8 million in annual revenue. Part of the plan calls for increased distribution online and more use outside of online and VOD. NBCU has rights to use it online, where it will start with NBC.com, and on its cable networks, where it could use the overnight slots already dedicated to paid programming. DriverTV, already on YouTube (although not heavily watched), also has a new deal to put video on MySpace. That deal and the funding should be announced Monday.