Full-Length Films Bound for YouTube?

Artwork: Chip Taylor
Hollywood execs are talking about the possibility of YouTube pairing with major movie studios and streaming full-length films on its site. With the rise of Hulu as well as IMDB's foray into streaming full-length films and YouTube's recent decision to play full television shows, the merger makes logical sense.

CNET reports that a few unnamed executive sources have been talking to Google about a union that could bring money to the unprofitable video site. The idea now is to embed advertisements in the movie clips, but offers no specifics as to how that would come about -- whether it be ads before or after the video, or, like Hulu, brief interruptions during the program.

Besides the challenge of becoming a cash cow, YouTube also must now face the hurdle of upping its quality and garnering content. YouTube is infamous for its grainy video and spotty audio. If Google cannot somehow rev up the quality, will people want to check it out at all? I wouldn't want to watch a blurry and distorted two-hour film when crisper options exist in the land of Hulu and the now multi-platform "Watch it Now" Netflix service.

In terms of content, Hulu has an exclusive partnership with NBC and News Corp., which owns all Fox-related programming, so the prospect of YouTube nabbing any of those companies' content is doubtful at best. But with YouTube getting 80 million visitors each month, it definitely has a great consumer backing and could use that to bolster negotiations.

The rumor is that this service could arrive as soon as early as next month. So far the only official word from Google comes from a spokesperson who told CNET, "We are in negotiations with a variety of entertainment companies. Our goal is to offer maximum choice for our users, partners, and advertisers."

Information is spotty, but the partnership's logic is there -- it's only a matter of when, and whether YouTube can make it worth our while.

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