YouTube Announces Content Deals With Movie Studios

AP and Reuters

YouTube announced that it is teaming up with several movie studios to offer full-length movies and TV shows on its site for free.

The video sharing site, owned by Google, said it is partnering on the initiative with Sony Pictures,CBS,MGM,Lionsgate, Starz and the BBC.

Advertising revenue will be shared with the content providers.

YouTube also says it will more broadly use video ads that play mid-stream in breaks on longer content. The movies and TV shows are currently limited to U.S. users.

The move underscores Google's efforts to ramp up content on YouTube to attract more advertising dollars.

It also represents a thawing in a chilly relationship between Youtube and Hollywood, which has criticized the site in the past for posting unauthorized content.

YouTube, which Google bought for $1.65 billion in 2006, is under pressure to start yielding a return in line with its huge popularity.

More than 100 million users watch videos on the site every month, according to the most recent data from comScore, an Internet audience measurement firm.

But YouTube, best known for grainy videos uploaded by its users, has been unable to attract major financial commitments from marketers reluctant to advertise their brands alongside unprofessional content.

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