Posted November 6, 2008 5:15 pm by with 25 comments

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The most popular video site on the web, YouTube has long been in negotiations with movie studios to stream full-length feature films. And while there are still a lot of details to be hammered out, sources say that the deal could be complete in thirty to ninety days, according to CNET reports today.

Among the major sticking points, as with everything else on YouTube, is finding the right way to monetize full-length films. According to two studio sources, YouTube parent Google is insistent upon one particular form, though they didn’t say whether that was preroll, postroll or overlays. And of course, there’s still the issue of balancing enough advertising to make it worthwhile to the site and the studio without driving away the viewers.

And here’s something I never thought I’d say: YouTube’s major competition in this area will come from none other than Hulu. Hulu has totally pwned come to dominate the long-form video market online, with high quality streaming. As CNET points out:

A showdown between Hulu and the 3-year-old YouTube was inevitable. Consider that Hulu, the joint video venture formed by NBC Universal and News Corp., attracts only a fraction of the 80 million people who visit YouTube each month, but Hulu still managed to generate nearly the same revenue in its first year in business, according to reports.

Naturally, that strength for YouTube—audience size—is a big reason why the studios have turned to YouTube instead of Hulu.

There is a little bit of precedent for the YouTube deals as well. In July, YouTube announced a partnership with Canadian film company Lionsgate. This partnership yielded film previews from Lionsgate with links to purchase the full-length film for download.

What do you think—will YouTube become the long-form streaming video destination, will they split the market with Hulu, or will the deal never materialize?


  • Yes there are folks who still truck down to their local media outlet to BUY vids, or pay for cable TV, but they must in the every shrinking minority, given that file sharing is now so wide spread. Pay for a movie/TV or download it for free..that’s a no-brainer IMHO 🙂 Same goes for any other form of media/software..the market for buyers is shrinking because anything you can think of is now available online via torrent sites. Great article Jordan.

  • This is good news for filmmakers everywhere, the day is coming for filmmaker
    to reach the world like never before “a world wide audience Wow!
    Now maybe filmmakers will start getting the idea, that they can bypass the old distribution
    model, and start looking at independent labeling and distribution.

  • Well they can charge a small subscription fee for the full length movies and also can show 30-60 sec video commercials in the middle of the movie. Hulu is the major competitor? Thats strange Cus I honestly forgot that they even existed…

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  • To compete with Hulu,Youtube should provide similar service

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  • Youtube doesn’t half to compete.
    I was able to get through the content on Hulu in about 3 months –moving on to new content.filmmakers should set up a donate paypal button. If the film is good, and you enjoyed the viewing quality. Give them a buck or two.

  • With YouTube’s high volume of viewers, I think they have a good chance of winning it.

  • hmm, but google send allready films in full lengh. so y schould youtube dont do it?

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  • As long as you don’t keep getting ‘this video is no longer available’ i think they are onto a winner, depending on the quality, reducing original quality will just make films less attractive.

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  • YouTube will end up showing full length films sooner than later. Quite how they will fend off Hulu’s challenge will unfold when the is have been dotted and ts crossed.

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  • In truth guy’s the future is in a Google Search, try it! do a search for horror films, you might find some cool movie you’ve never seen, and would never have been able to see. Filmmakers are starting to realize that they can set up a website
    and self distribute. I know, I’m talking to filmmakers everyday, that’s what I do.

  • With 20000 films being produced every year and only
    half of them will make it, there’s still got be a few good films that almost made the cut that you might like to see. That can only be found on a independent website

  • Nice, now we don’t have to chop movies.

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  • YouTube has to make money somehow….can they get it right?

  • That’ll be nice not to have to watch a full movie on there in 9 different segments.

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  • If anyone says that this is going to be for free then I don’t believe it at all, although they might start this service, but then they would have to highly work on conserving quality!

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  • First they were in a dire situation, they HAD to monetize… and now they will be showing full length movies? Those studios better be paying big money, after all the youtube crying that was going on last month. I’ll believe it when I see it.

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  • YouTube might find itself falling behind Hulu depending on their solution to featuring full-length films.. They could, as you rightly pointed out, lose a great deal of their current viewer base if they start charging too much to watch a movie… People will always find a free way to get what someone else is charging them for.. I don’t see the deal coming to fruition

  • cat

    That’s gonna be something interesting, but if they want to show full lenght films they have to increase their speed

  • I think this will only be useful to those with a fast enough connection to stream the video without jitters.

  • jo

    Why not make two parts of a film in HD instead of showing them in standard i mean i would rather watch part 1 then part two in hd then both in standard

  • As long as you don’t keep getting ‘this video is no longer available’ i think they are onto a winner, depending on the quality, reducing original quality will just make films less attractive.

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