NBC Uni starts its engines with DriverTV

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NBC Universal said Monday that it has acquired a 35% stake in DriverTV, a company that produces and distributes auto-related video content.

The investment is worth $6 million, a source familiar with the deal said.

DriverTV will be the centerpiece of the new NBC Uni Auto Network, which initially will include NBC.com and News Corp.'s MySpace, which has entered a separate deal with DriverTV.

Under that agreement, DriverTV content should be on MySpace within the next couple of weeks.

DriverTV founder and CEO Jan Renner said that NBC Uni "fully endorsed" the agreement. He also said the company is talking with other Web distribution sites about similar deals but declined to provide specifics.

"There is a growing need for the automotive industry to find engaging ways to reach potential buyers with information," NBC Uni chief digital officer George Kliavkoff said. "The DriverTV model has been very successful in bringing together car companies and those in the market for new vehicles."

Founded in 2005, DriverTV specializes in producing three-minute promo videos that showcase a vehicle's interior and exterior. With NBC Uni, the company will look to produce new programming.

DriverTV's content is available as a VOD channel in about 30 million cable homes and 500,000 hotel rooms through distribution agreements with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter, Insight and the Hotel Network.

Multiplatform content firm Radical Media will keep a "significant interest" in the company and will continue to provide production and creative services to DriverTV.
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