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Lionsgate Ups Free Clips on YouTube

17 Jul, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Lionsgate is set to allow greater use of clips from its feature films for use by YouTube users while at the same time attempting to generate incremental revenue.

Beginning in September, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based mini-major will make available ad-supported clips from its vaunted portfolio that consumers can slice and dice into their own videos. Clips will be from such films as 3:10 to Yuma, Rambo, War, Crash, “Weeds” and the “Saw” franchise, among others.

Concurrently, users would be given options via links to purchase the content either electronically or in conventional packaged media, including standard DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

Users would be encouraged to interact with Lionsgate in terms of how the clips are used and repurposed, including possible studio feedback on their original user-generated responses.

Lionsgate disclosed the agreement with the social networking site's parent, Google Inc., July 16 at an entertainment conference in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Curt Marvis, president of digital distribution with Lionsgate, said the strategy reflects the studio's attempt to deal with burgeoning new media and Web site phenomena that commands nearly 90% market share of all online videos.

“It's a reaction to consumer demands,” Marvis said. “YouTube has a huge audience that wants to consume video. What nobody has figured out is how to monetize that audience. We hope to [do that] through both the advertisement surrounding it and the download.”

He said with Lionsgate content already in circulation on YouTube, the studio had an obligation to proactively protect its intellectual property in a non-litigious way. Short of pulling the content off the site, Lionsgate had few alternatives, according to Marvis.

He said no decision had been made regarding Lionsgate fare already available and imbedded via user-generated content on YouTube.

“We haven't made any final decisions yet about how we'll handle existing clips, but it is fairly safe to assume we want to restart the clock,” Marvis said. “We want to exercise a greater degree of control over what is already up there.”

Separately, YouTube said it had begun streaming content via a proprietary TiVo set-top box previously announced in March.

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