YouTube has announced it will be launching a premium section with movies and TV shows. Google has been growing its collection of full-length movies. In November of 2008 MGM announced that it would begin adding some of its films to YouTube, starting with films like The Magnificent Seven and Bulletproof Monk. TEarlier this month rumors spread that Sony was working on a similar deal to add films to YouTube. Apparently, MGM, Sony, Crackle, CBS, Lionsgate, Starz and a handful of other distribution companies are now on board. Ok so this is Google’s move to monitize on YouTube. This puts them in direct competition with Hulu, which has a pretty good head start. Having said that, everybody knows YouTube and not everyone knows Hulu (despite their tv spots) so Google has the YouTube brand and existing traffic to help propel it moving forward.
The downside… YouTube will use third-party players from services like Crackle. “YouTube has agreed to display the films using a video player from Crackle, Sony Pictures’ own video site. The studio will control all the advertising for the films and Crackle will also get credit for the traffic,” according to CNet. That’s a shame… one of the attractive things about YouTube is that everything is displayed using Flash and let’s face it, everybody has Flash. So the premium content may end up requiring a bunch of different players to view all of the content. I’m sure this was done to appease the content providers, but it’s unfortunately as it will present a less unified experience.