Providence pumps up Web video

Report: Will put $100 mil in NBC Uni/News venture

Media investment firm Providence Equity will invest $100 million in the still-unnamed NBC Universal/News Corp. joint online video venture, according to a published report.

The New York Times said that the investment, which will be formalized in a couple of weeks, will give the Rhode Island-based firm a 10% stake in the joint venture as well as a board seat, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday. Industry sources said Providence was one of many firms that came to the venture looking to make an investment.

Providence and NBC Uni/ News Corp. representatives declined comment.

The so-called NewSite, which was announced in March, will bring News Corp., NBC Uni and other video content to heavily trafficked portals, including News Corp.'s MySpace, Time Warner's AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft, and also will have a separate stand-alone site. The company also counts Comcast, CNET and Gemstar-TV Guide among its partners.

Former Amazon executive Jason Kilar was named CEO of the joint venture in June, but the company still lacks branding and a launch date. During the conference call introducing Kilar, News Corp. president and COO Peter Chernin said that a September launch — which had been mentioned — was a possibility, but he could not give a definitive answer on a date.

Providence also has investments in MGM, Warner Music Group, Univision and the YES Network, the local cable channel for the New York Yankees. The firm counts NexTag, WhitePages.com and Study Island among its Internet-related investments.
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