Soon, YouTube will be carrying ad-supported TV shows from CBS, clips from LionsGate movies with pre-rolls and post-rolls, full-length movies from MGM and exclusive content from one of the world’s leading reality-show producers. Not bad for a site that started with video clips of funny cats and skateboard pratfalls, and is still considered by some to be a kind of trailer-park ghetto of video (yes, Mark Cuban, we’re looking at you). With Hulu.com adding plenty of mainstream content too, the competition in online video definitely seems to be heating up.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios will kick off the partnership by posting episodes of its decade-old â€œAmerican Gladiatorsâ€ program to YouTube, along with full-length action films like â€œBulletproof Monkâ€ and â€œThe Magnificent Sevenâ€ and clips from popular movies like â€œLegally Blonde.â€
Wow — the chance to watch old episodes of American Gladiators and Bulletproof Monk. Hold me back.
Robert McLaws, for example, mentioned what I think is a pretty routine occurrence for most people when watching YouTube videos, and that’s the “buffering” message (I get that a fair bit even though I have an 8-megabit connection). John Brandon at Computerworld mentioned the crappy quality of most YouTube videos, and Nick Carlson at Silicon Alley Insider noted that YouTube videos aren’t actually streamed, but are downloaded to the user’s computer — meaning they can easily be copied.
YouTube has responded to the McCain campaign (while stifling a chuckle, perhaps?) that it can’t play favourites just because the senator is in the midst of an election campaign, and that while Mr. McCain no doubt thinks his clips are of extra importance, “there is a lot of other content on our global site that our users around the world find to be equally important.” Then comes the real zinger: YouTube’s general counsel Zahavah Levine says that: “We hope that as a content uploader, you have gained a sense of some of the challenges we face everyday in operating YouTube.” Bam.
That clip has been watched more than 3 million times on YouTube, which is a big plus for the network. Except that the video that’s getting all of the views wasn’t uploaded by CBS — or was it? As Michael Learmonth describes in a piece for Advertising Age, the clip was uploaded by a user named 1970oaktree, and doesn’t have any CBS pre-roll advertising or anything like that. It also wasn’t uploaded to the official CBS channel. But 1970oaktree has only been a member of YouTube for about a week, and the Letterman video is the only thing he or she has ever uploaded.