NBC to Start Selling YouTube Ads for Popular Shows Like Fallon

  • ``Tonight Show'' tops 8 million subscribers on video service
  • Deals with AOL, Toyota highlight emerging Internet strategy

Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal will begin selling advertising on Google Inc.’s YouTube for the first time, creating a new revenue stream for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and other shows that have attracted large audiences online.

Commercials on Fallon’s YouTube channel and other NBC shows will begin appearing later this year, the network said Wednesday. The initial sponsors weren’t identified.

For years, NBCUniversal viewed YouTube as a promotional outlet for its content -- a place for airing clips and movie trailers. Yet some shows have developed large audiences online and the lure of advertising revenue has become irresistible. “The Tonight Show” channel on YouTube has more than 8 million subscribers.

“So here you have one of the hottest shows on television, where 70 percent of the views are in an area that we don’t get credit for,” NBCUniversal Chief Executive Officer Steve Burke said on a February earnings call. “That’s not going to last forever.”

NBC didn’t say how it will share ad sales with YouTube. Typically, Google’s video service has offered contributors 55 percent of the revenue from ads that appear alongside clips.

The deal is the latest by NBC to generate more revenue online. The company announced this week its shows will be available on AOL’s online platforms, with Toyota as the initial advertiser. NBC is also developing an online subscription video service dedicated to comedy that’s expected to be introduced in the coming weeks.

Google, meanwhile, has been signing up partners for a new paid video service that will be commercial free and is expected to be introduced by the end of the year, people with knowledge of the matter said in July. That service doesn’t include Fox, NBC and CBS, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the project.

The Wall Street Journal reported on NBC’s ad deal with YouTube earlier Wednesday.

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