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YouTube Reaches First Independent TV-Station Group Deal: Hearst-Argyle

Hearst-Argyle Television will offer some of its news and entertainment content on Google’s YouTube, becoming the first independent TV-station group to strike such a revenue-sharing agreement with the site.

Starting Monday, Hearst-Argyle television stations in five markets -- Boston; Manchester, N.H.; Sacramento, Calif.; Pittsburgh; and Baltimore -- will begin posting local video content to dedicated channels on YouTube.

“This innovative deal with Google and YouTube fits perfectly within our overall digital strategy of distributing our content on all three screens -- the TV, the PC and the mobile phone,” Hearst-Argyle Television executive vice president Terry Mackin said in a prepared statement. “We have invested significant resources in our growing digital-media efforts. With Google and YouTube, we can now better engage users and advertisers with our award-winning local video content and with new user-generated content, while further broadening our reach beyond the boundaries of our media markets.”

The Hearst-Argyle YouTube channels will be populated with news, weather and entertainment videos, as well as with original local television programming such as Chronicle on WCVB, one of New England’s most honored television programs. YouTube will also serve as a platform to support Hearst-Argyle’s new digital-video initiatives including high-school football, basketball and local amateur entertainment.

A number of Hearst-Argyle stations are consistently among the highest-rated in their respective markets, and the company has a legacy of local-news leadership with stations such as WCVB in Boston, WMUR in Manchester, KCRA in Sacramento, WTAE in Pittsburgh and WBAL-TV in Baltimore.

Hearst-Argyle’s digital multimedia efforts encompass the Web and the digital-broadcast spectrum. A majority of the Web sites operated by the company’s stations are consistently ranked No. 1 within their respective markets.

Generating in excess of 1.5 billion page views each year across the network, the sites are at the leading edge in providing wireless-application-protocol content, podcasts, Web-based newscasts, Web video and blogs in a broad cross-section of markets. Several Hearst-Argyle stations have used digital spectrum to launch weather- and/or traffic-information channels.

“We’re constantly looking at innovative ways to not only bring the YouTube community the best content out there, but also to find ways to bring them the most relevant programming,” YouTube head of premium-content partnerships Jordan Hoffner said in a prepared statement. “Local creates relevance, and this agreement will ultimately deliver Hearst-Argyle’s programming to an even broader audience looking for local content. We look forward to continuing to work with the Hearst-Argyle team as we launch new products and services on the local level.”