NBC Universal has reached an uneasy alliance with YouTube that will see NBC television programming officially carried on the user contributed video web site with on-air promotion on NBC.

They describe the strategic partnership as a way to combine NBC’s quality programming with YouTube’s vast audience while engaging viewers in innovative new ways to promote NBC’s programmes.

Founded in early 2005, YouTube reportedly generates more than 70 million video views a day from over 12 million users a month, with more than 60,000 new videos uploaded daily.

YouTube will create an NBC Channel to promote NBC programmes such as Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and will also promote NBC videos throughout the site.

NBC is inviting users to contribute their own promotional videos for their show The Office, based on the successful BBC series.

It follows the phenomenal popularity of viral video clips, such as the ‘Lazy Sunday’ Saturday Night Live clip, which produced millions of downloads. NBC asked YouTube to remove the material, but later published it on its own web site.

“The YouTube and NBC partnership symbolizes what can happen when traditional media companies and new media companies find common ground,” said John Miller, the chief marketing officer of NBC Universal Television Group.

“YouTube is the perfect online media partner to promote NBC’s marquee entertainment to their audience and explore new and creative ways to harness the power of viral video in a manner that respects copyrights,” he said. “We applaud YouTube for their continued willingness to work with us to remove any unauthorized NBC content and protect our copyrighted material.”

“We are delighted to work with NBC on an official basis, said Chad Hurley, co-founder and chief executive of YouTube. “Bringing more entertaining and exclusive content to YouTube helps further our goal of providing the best video entertainment experience on the Internet.”

It remains to be seen how users will react to the commercialisation of YouTube. Much of the attraction of such community driven sites to their users is that they subvert the dominant paradigm. Nevertheless, it further legitimises the success of YouTube in the online video space and demonstrates the power of both old and new networks.