YouTube Launches Movie, TV Section - InformationWeek

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YouTube Launches Movie, TV Section

Sony, CBS, MGM, and others put down their pitchforks and work with the video site to create custom channels similar to Hulu.

YouTube on Thursday unveiled an agreement with major Hollywood studios, including Sony, CBS, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, to show their movies and TV shows on a new section of the online video site.

Other studios that have agreed to show entertainment on YouTube include independent film studio Lions Gate Entertainment and Liberty Media, which owns the Starz movie channel.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, has had a rocky relationship with studios, which have criticized the site for not doing enough to prevent users from uploading copyrighted material, such as movie clips, songs, and music videos. YouTube's policy is take down such material as soon as it is notified by the copyright holder.

The latest deal, announced on a YouTube blog, is a further indication of an easing of tensions. In conjunction with the studio agreement, YouTube also launched a wider rollout of in-stream ads that the site has been testing in videos since last October.

The ads, much like what is used on TV, can't be skipped by viewers and will be used to generate revenue from TV shows and movies. The new content will only be available in the United States, but YouTube plans to expand to other regions "as soon as possible."

YouTube is the largest video site on the Web, surpassing 100 million viewers in the United States for the first time in January, according to ComScore. Competitors include Hulu, whose owners include NBC and News Corp.

The latest Hollywood studios to use YouTube join the Walt Disney Co., which started showing clips of ABC and ESPN shows this month. YouTube and Vivendi's Universal Music Group have partnered in building a new music and entertainment site called Vevo that will feature UMG videos.

Despite the partnerships and viewership, YouTube remains a money loser for Google. According to Credit Suisse, the site cost Google about $711 million in operating costs, while only bringing in $240 million in ad revenue.

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