National Geographic Launches Broadband Programs

National Geographic's Digital Media Group has launched a short-form production unit to create video content expressly for the broadband marketplace, the company announced this week. The group will distribute its content on MSN Video.

With this deal, National Geographic joins an increasing number of content producers now creating video for the Web. Matthew White, executive vice president for Digital Media, sees both creative and financial promise in the burgeoning medium.

"Digital and broadband have opened a huge window of opportunity for content rights holders," White said in a statement. "We are taking positive, progressive steps to build new and sustainable business models that only increase the value of the assets we manage."

Content publishers, however, face the added challenge of actually getting their goods in front of consumers' eyes. And while some of the more ambitious ones have endeavored to establish their own Web sites as destinations--CBS, MTV's Overdrive--many are seeking to distribute their wares via large and proven portals like AOL, Yahoo!, and MSN.

Even a media company as established as the WB reached out to Yahoo! last month when it wanted to get eyeballs en masse for "Supernatural," arranging for Yahoo! to stream the premiere episode before it aired on TV. The WB also arranged to stream the debut of its now defunct "Jack & Bobby" on AOL a year ago.

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