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YouTube rival inks TV production deal

Shakes off French courts, expands to US

You see, some parts of the TV and movie industry are beginning to like this online video-sharing thing.

Earlier this month, several French film producers successfully sued video-sharing site Dailymotion for copyright infringement, but now the Paris-based YouTube rival has teamed up with a high-profile TV production company, looking to augment its massive collection of user-uploaded videos with some slick, new, professional content.

Though Dailymotion has yet to make an official announcement, Reuters reports that the video site has inked a deal with RDF USA, best known for an American reality series featuring basketball star Shaquille O'Neal.

When contacted, both companies confirmed the "non-exclusive, first-look" deal, which commits RDF to providing Dailymotion with eight brand new program concepts over the next year. The two companies will share ad revenue generated by these short-form video shows, and in some cases, the shows will be tailored to particular ad campaigns. "We're going to be very advertiser-friendly," Max Benator, head of RDF’s digital media group, told The Reg. "We're going to be doing a lot of integration, so the content will be geared toward particular brands."

Dailymotion is interested in providing compelling content without running afoul of the law, while RDF has its sights set on becoming "a major media player in the digital space." "We are creating original content for the online space and the mobile space," Benator said. "Technology is changing and the media world is changing with it. Online and television are beginning to merge."

The non-exclusive tag means that RDF can use the web as a springboard for big-time TV deals. "If a web series we create becomes a huge viral success, we can turn it into a TV property." And Dailymotion would get a cut.

There's little doubt a trend is developing. NBC Universal Digital Studios recently signed a deal with Break.com. Mega-producer Steven Bochco has his own channel on MetaCafe. And Sony Pictures went ahead and paid $65m for Grouper, before re-branding the video-sharer as a studio-backed site called Crackle.

Dailymotion calls itself "the largest independent online video entertainment company." This means that research firm comScore ranks it as the most-visited video site not controlled by big corporate names like Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Fox, and Viacom. According to comScore's latest online video study, Dailymotion reaches about 4.7m unique users a month here in the States. That's nowhere near the popularity of the Google-owned YouTube, but it's pretty healthy traffic for a site that only launched stateside two and a half weeks ago. Alexa.com ranks the site as the 54th most popular on the web, although Alexa's rankings mean so very litte.

With RDF on its side, Dailymotion is doing its best to show that it's working with the TV and movie industry, not against it. A Dailymotion spokesperson told us that the company has set up a system to manually remove copyrighted content when copyright holders complain and that it's in the process of rolling out a video fingerprint system that automatically identifies infringing content.®

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