Monday, April 20, 2009

US deal brings movies to YouTube

It might still be best known for showcasing unlikely talent, but Google's YouTube is increasingly looking to establish partnerships with established content providers.

Last week, as Brian Stelter and Miguel Heft report for The New York Times, YouTube signed deals with Hollywood studios including Sony, Lions Gate and MGM (the content will currently only be available in the USA).
“We think the prime-time slot of the future is very much user-programmed,” Shiva Rajaraman, a senior product manager for YouTube, told reporters in a conference call Thursday. He said users could come home to a mixture of TV shows, music videos and amateur videos.
For Wired, Chris Snyder wonders whether the deal represents a fundamental shift in strategy.
The moves signal a significant evolution for YouTube away from its beginnings as a platform for homegrown video — roots that helped catapult the site to mad popularity while also creating friction with copyright holders over thousands of unauthorized video clips submitted by the YouTube community.

The changes will not impose download or streaming fees for premium content, although Google CEO Eric Schmidt hinted at the possibility down the road in an earnings call on Thursday. ("We do expect over time to see micropayments and other forms of subscription models coming," he said.)

Rather, YouTube said it will offer new technology, dubbed Google TV Ads Online, to insert ads in the middle of video clips, rather than just at the beginning or the end. It will also allow partners for the first time to use their own video players on the site.

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