YouTube To Become Legit TV Broadcaster

Dennis Faas's picture

YouTube is about to legally broadcast full-length television shows complete with a commercial break. However, for now the programs being featured will be reruns.

The video site has previously experimented with commercials before clips, but the strategy has not been effective. That's mainly because the commercials seemed too obtrusive in a short clip that may only be a minute or so long. The hope is that online viewers will tolerate commercial breaks in full TV episodes in the same way as watching on a TV set.

There is a major drawback, however: TV rights restrictions mean the content is only available to users in the US. That's caused complaints for users worldwide who think it undermines the global nature of the Internet. (Source:

The new system comes as YouTube launches two new viewing modes: Theater View displays clips in widescreen with the addition of red curtains either side, while Lights Out dims the entire screen except for the video itself. The idea is that the options will make it easier to watch longer videos. (However, neither option works in the full screen mode.)

Originally, YouTube had a strict 10 minute limit on clips, but has now relaxed this as broadband connections get faster, reducing the stuttering which used to occur with longer clips.

YouTube's Shiva Rajaraman says the idea of the traditional-style ad breaks on the TV shows is motivated by finding "the right ad format for the right content experience". He added that there are still firm plans to introduce more overlay adverts on shorter clips, which is where an advert is superimposed over the video itself. (Source:

That's still a tricky process as there needs to be a balance between making the clips prominent enough that advertisers think it's a smart use of their budget, without making them so disruptive that they drive users away.

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