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Just An Online Minute... Hearst-Argyle Makes Local Deal With YouTube

Hearst-Argyle has cut a deal to distribute video clips on YouTube, the companies announced today.

With the arrangement, news, weather, and clips from other local programs in five markets - - Boston, Manchester in New Hampshire, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore - - will be available on the video-sharing site, as well as clips of high school sports, among other material.

While this deal appears to mark the first time YouTube has made a deal for local video, the company has allied with NBC and CBS in the past. As recently as March, CBS tapped YouTube to create an NCAA channel for streams of the basketball games.

YouTube obviously gives Hearst-Argyle broad distribution -- but it's not clear how much of a boon that is considering that the clips likely appeal to people in limited geographic markets. Still, it doesn't seem likely to hurt Hearst-Argyle, and raises the possibility that at least some of the programs will find a new audience.

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The companies have also said they will share ad revenue generated by such clips -- though long-term details remain murky. In fact, news of the Hearst-Argyle deal comes just several days after YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen reiterated that they're still testing ad formats. "There will be a variety of options," Hurley said last week at a conference, according to CNET. "We're testing them now. We don't think that forcing someone to watch an ad is the best way," he reportedly added in an interview at the conference with The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg.

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