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RealTime IT News

YouTube TV?

What happens when you mix broadcast television and video-sharing sensation YouTube?

Cable giant Comcast  hopes it looks something like Ziddio, its new Website and video-on-demand programming.

The news comes as rival Verizon  is reportedly in talks with YouTube allowing the carrier's subscribers to view videos via Verizon Wireless' broadband VCast service. Verizon was not immediately available for comment.

Philadelphia-based Comcast is touting its new Ziddio service as a "more professional, cinematic platform" for broadcast-quality user-generated content, a source familiar with the project told internetnews.com.

Comcast, meanwhile, is denying it planned to work with YouTube or another video-sharing company.

YouTube, which was recently bought by Internet giant Google for $1.65 billion and has entered into a number of agreements with television networks, refused any comment.

The Comcast official, speaking on the condition of remaining anonymous, said Ziddio will officially launch in December. Unlike YouTube, which builds a community around submitted videos, Ziddio will generate interest through a series of contests and high-profile broadcast sponsors.

The contests fall into two categories: winning videos either are shown on Comcast's video-on-demand Internet service or will appear on a Comcast property, such as Style Network. In both cases, cash and prizes are also awarded.

Also setting it apart from YouTube are various video genres, such as comedy, movies, animation and games.

Ziddio can draw on other Comcast networks, including the Golf Channel, E! and G4 as potential contest parterns.

In one example, Ziddio users are asked to submit videos explaining why they should "Join the Order of Jedi." Timed to coincide with the November Cinemax rebroadcast of the Star Wars series in HD, at the end of a six-week period, a grand winner is awarded a three-day trip to Kennedy Space Center.

While a celebrity HBO judge will help pick the grand prize winner, Ziddio users will pick each weekly winner.

Such videos will be available on Comcast's video-on-demand service, the company official said.

An example of another category of Ziddio contests can be seen in Comcast's "Search for the Messiest House."

With judging based on criteria such as degree of clutter, personality of the entrant and level of impact on home life, the right video could win a user a home makeover. The videos will be shown on Style Network, according to Comcast.

"We will see experiments like this, but you won't be able to recreate the YouTube experience on TV," David Card, a media analyst for JupiterKagan Research, told internetnews.com.

While the YouTube experience can't be transferred unchanged to broadcast television, we are likely to see networks present more short-form clips and use them as a promotional tool. Such short-form videos could promote television shows produced by the networks, Card said.

While copyright issues remain the big bugaboo for television networks considering adopting more user-generated content, YouTube is almost comparable to Comcast's video-on-demand dating show, said Mike Goodman, media analyst with Yankee Group.

Goodman called network TV and YouTube a "natural fit." Some Internet content available through Comcast is just a "half step away from what YouTube is doing," he said.