Verizon Communications struck a deal with Google to offer nearly all the videos from YouTube to FiOS TV subscribers, becoming the first pay-TV provider to distribute content from the Internet's No. 1 video site.
Verizon also is widely launching an Internet radio service on FiOS TV, with access to live audio streams from more than 800 stations nationwide, via a partnership with Clear Channel's iHeartRadio.com.
The new Internet content is another example of how FiOS TV can "create experiences cable can't deliver," Verizon vice president of consumer strategy Shawn Strickland said in a statement.
Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed. The YouTube clips on FiOS TV will not include advertising, according to Verizon spokeswoman Deidre Mulcahy Hart.
Most YouTube videos will be available on FiOS TV. But there are some exceptions, such as when a content provider or celebrity restricts a video clip's usage -- for example, if a movie studio wants a trailer shown only on the Web, Mulcahy Hart said.
Both the YouTube access and Internet radio stations are part of Verizon's Media Manager service, which already lets subscribers search and view user-generated content from online video-sharing sites Blip.tv, Dailymotion and Veoh.
FiOS TV also offers on-screen access to Facebook and Twitter accounts. According to Verizon, subscribers have accessed 15 million Facebook photos since the feature debuted in July 2009.
The Media Manager service is available for no additional charge to all FiOS TV HD customers. Previously, it was available only to HD DVR customers. In addition to the video-sharing features, Media Manager provides access to photos and music stored on a subscriber's PC.
YouTube is the top Internet video site, serving 11.9 billion videos in February, which represented about 43% of all videos viewed in the month, according to comScore.
But YouTube has also been accused of achieving that popularity by misappropriating content. Viacom in 2007 sued YouTube, alleging massive and deliberate copyright infringement, in a lawsuit that is still pending.
To watch YouTube or listen to iHeartRadio on FiOS TV, customers need either an HD DVR or HD set-top box. Then they must download and install the telco's Media Manager software on a Windows PCs. The software acts as a bridge between Internet and PC content and the set-top box; users must leave their PCs on to access the Media Manager features.
"Adding YouTube and Internet Radio to FiOS TV further expands our customers' digital home-entertainment world by giving them access to an unprecedented amount of online content on the biggest screen in their home -- their TV," Strickland said.
FiOS users can search YouTube and other available video-sharing sites individually, or all sites at once, using keywords or by selecting "most watched" and "top rated" categories. Thumbnail screen grabs of videos appear in search results. In addition, customers can log onto their YouTube account to view their own uploaded videos or favorites.
Verizon had about 3 million FiOS TV subscribers at the end of March. The telco is slowing down its buildout of the FiOS fiber-to-the-home network this year, planning to add about 1 million homes passed in 2010 compared with a previous target of 3 million.
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