YouTube is starting to play catch-up with Hulu.com. After a mostly losing battle against keeping copyrighted material off it’s site, the video sharing service will now feature full length content from MGM. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer will run a limited selection of TV series along with full-length films and popular movie clips. Earlier this month, YouTube also began posting full -length episodes of older shows including “Star Trek” and “Beverly Hills 90210.”
The New York Times reports on YouTube’s strategy:
In the last few months, YouTube has swept its virtual floors and painted its stage as it prepares to offer more professional videos. This month, it introduced a “theater view” button that expands the viewing screen and darkens the rest of the Web page for optimum viewing — a feature similar to one introduced by Hulu.
YouTube has also developed a system called VideoID. It allows media companies to spot unauthorized clips of their material on the site, and then either remove the clips or leave them up and sell ads on them. As part of its deal, MGM will begin scouring YouTube for studio clips, from properties like the James Bond and Rocky franchises, and pulling many of them from the site.
But MGM will also work with YouTube to choose which clips can remain online, supported by advertising.
“YouTube is essentially saying to media companies, ‘We are sorry for our past copyright stance; we weren’t thinking big enough. Let’s see how we can make some money together,’ ” said James L. McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research.