NBCx.com, set to launch this fall, will offer animation and live streaming video of comedic content. Like NBC's other Internet properties, it will benefit from on-air promotions on the broadcast television network and distribution on NBCi.com, the company's Web portal for high-speed connections.
Some analysts expressed skepticism about the niche market, but said NBC carries plenty of clout--both financial and promotional--to make NBCx.com successful.
"There's a lot of people in the Internet entertainment business and there's not much money or eyeballs to go around. So, it's a risky business, but NBC does have a lot of assets," said David Card, an Internet content analyst at market watcher Jupiter Communications.
The new Web site will feature original programming; content from NBC-owned shows such as "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," "Saturday Night Live" and Jay Leno's "The Tonight Show"; and programming from outside outlets.
NBC said it hopes that NBCx.com will serve as a sort of incubator for new comedic talent--performers, writers and producers--that could be promoted to its network TV shows.
With the NBCx.com site, NBC plans to address the so-called Generation X and Generation Y audiences--people younger than 30 years old. Many companies are targeting younger audiences, particularly teens, based on their desirable economic demographics and Net-savvy skills.
For example, several wireless service providers have aimed offers at teens through prepaid service and family plans. In addition, dozens of online content providers are targeting younger audiences with soap opera-like serial shows and other programming designed for teens and 20-somethings.
NBCx.com is the latest in a string of investments NBC has made in programming geared toward a younger audience. Last month, NBC invested in Digital Entertainment Network (DEN), an online company targeting teens.
CNET Networks, publisher of News.com, owns a stake in NBC Internet.