YouTube, MGM Bring Full-Length Films Online - InformationWeek
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YouTube, MGM Bring Full-Length Films Online

As further evidence that media companies are learning to stop worrying and start loving YouTube, FremantleMedia also announced Monday that it will produce original content for the video-sharing site.

While Viacom's copyright lawsuit against Google's YouTube continues to drag on, other media companies are learning to stop worrying and start loving the video-sharing site.

On Monday, MGM Worldwide Digital Media said it had struck a deal with YouTube to make full-length movies and promotional clips from MGM's library available online.

"We're looking to mine the breadth and depth of the MGM library to build out and promote branded, multiplatform opportunities on demand, online, and wherever viewers consume their entertainment," said Jim Packer, co-president, MGM Worldwide Television, in a statement.

Also on Monday, Reuters reported that FremantleMedia, the U.K. production company behind numerous reality shows, game shows, and other entertainment, plans to produce shows exclusively for YouTube for an undisclosed revenue split.

FremantleMedia did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It is owned by Europe's RTL Group, which in turn is 90% owned by Bertelsmann AG.

Last month, CBS started running a limited number full-length television shows on YouTube. These included episodes of Beverly Hills 90210, MacGyver, the original Star Trek, and The Young And The Restless.

While the MGM titles being made available on YouTube -- Lone Wolf McQuade and Bulletproof Monk -- may not be A-list, first-run Hollywood releases, they nonetheless mark a format change for YouTube, which still limits user-generated content to no more than 10 minutes in length.

Although YouTube contains mostly user-generated content, online advertisers haven't exactly been beating down YouTube's doors to run ads against amateur video clips. Professionally produced video, however, is seen as more suitable for sponsorship, and Google has more motivation than ever, given the current economic troubles around the world, to strike partnerships that generate revenue.

The advent of longer videos on YouTube also is seen as a move to respond to the presence of full-length movies and TV shows at, the increasingly popular online video-sharing site run by News Corp. and General Electric's NBC Universal.

About a year ago, YouTube introduced its content-protection system called YouTube Video Identification. The system, still in beta, allows content owners to create a digital fingerprint for their videos and to decide whether to block the sharing of their videos or to monetize sharing with ads.

Google's YouTube accounted for almost 35% of the 12 billion online videos Americans viewed in May, according to ComScore, while Hulu accounted for 0.07%. However, Google only advertises on a small percentage of YouTube's videos, whereas all of Hulu's content is sponsored.

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