MGM and Google Announce YouTube Movie and TV Deal
Just a few days ago I reported on rumors that Google was nearing a deal that would lead to the placement of full-length movies on its popular video site, YouTube. Now, it appears Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), one of Hollywood's biggest studios, is on board with the idea.
The precedent for full-length movies was set back in the summer, when prominent Canadian studio Lionsgate (behind flicks like W. and The Transporter 3) announced they would be placing shorts on Google's popular video site. Of course, that's besides the fact that more and more people turn to web sites like Hulu for their favorite TV shows all the time, at the expense of cable and satellite companies.
Google wasn't shy about its plans and admitted it was in talks to make YouTube a hub for fans of the silver screen. Their announcement this week shouldn't be too much surprise, although Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer may be a bigger first step than any of us were expecting. MGM represents popular franchises like the Bond and Legally Blonde series and is also behind the Star Trek television series, perhaps the most important TV show ever made.
MGM co-president of Worldwide Television Jim Packer certainly believes the deal holds great promise. "I think it will grow into a nice little business," Packer said. "I think YouTube has something that a lot of sites don't have...They have a lot of people walking through their front door everyday. And if they are smart in how they grow this, YouTube should have a successful business also." (Source: bbc.co.uk)
The key to that statement is this: "if they are smart in how they grow this". The challenge for YouTube and Google will be to design a platform that can be profitably (primarily through advertising) and functional, meaning it won't bog the viewer down in ads for razors and family sedans every ten minutes.
The new deal is part of Google's continuing effort to make YouTube worth that $1.65 billion it sunk into purchasing the site last year. That flashing of cash got a lot of people excited on the net, but up until now YouTube has failed to convince Google, or anyone else, that there is big money in online video production.
Thus, the solution may be to simply post videos found through other mediums. This may in fact be one of the most important media moves ever.
For now, however, there is much experimentation to be done. The first step should be something called the "YouTube Impact" channel, featuring popular MGM TV series and a select few films, like Bulletproof Monk and Legally Blonde. (Source: nytimes.com)
It's expected that some full length movies may be made available, but "you won't see those blockbuster theatricals shortly after their release or after their TV window," Packer admitted.
MGM hopes these shows will be available to the public in the next 18 months.