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Sony in Talks to Stream Movies on YouTube

7 Apr, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel


YouTube


A representative from Sony Pictures Entertainment April 7 confirmed online reports the studio is in negotiations with Google Inc. to license feature films for distribution on the research behemoth’s social video site YouTube.

Should an agreement emerge, it would mark the first time a major studio licensed more than video clips and trailers on YouTube.

Sony Pictures spokesperson Paula Askanas, in an email, said talks were underway but declined to provide additional details, including whether the deal would include new releases day-and-date with DVD and Blu-ray, or just catalog fare.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s 2009 release slate includes Quantum of Solace, The International, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Fired Up! and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, among others.

An agreement would appear to circumvent Sony’s proprietary streaming site Crackle (formerly Grouper), which it acquired for $65 million in 2005 and re-launched in 2007.

The battle for supremacy of repurposed movie and television content on the Web continues to build.

The Walt Disney Co. last month signed a deal with Google to deliver ad-supported video clips from ABC and ESPN to YouTube. The agreement, which includes a revenue-sharing deal, does not comprise full-length programming and movies.

Independent analyst Rob Enderle said YouTube is positioning itself beyond user generated video clips. He said that thanks to Google, YouTube is well positioned to emerge a dominant force in repurposed content on the Web.

“They are less likely to be seen as a competitor than a studio-owned service would be,” Enderle said. “It is believed that Sony is the most difficult of the major studios to cut a deal with and getting them should help YouTube fast track deals with other content owners.”

TV.com, a unit of CBS Corp., last month reported a 162% increase in unique viewers, a 551% increase in video streams and a 4,316% increase in minutes viewed in February, compared to the same period last year.

The site, which has waged a lower profile marketing campaign in contrast to rival Hulu.com, said it reported a 37% increase in unique viewers, a 33% increase in video streams and a 45% increase in minutes compared to January.

Hulu.com, the NBC Universal and News Corp. co-founded streaming site, continues to increase its exposure via pricey national TV campaigns starring Alec Baldwin and most recently, Seth McFarlane, creator of “Family Guy.”

Through February, Hulu recorded a 32.8% rise in overall streams and a 41.6% surge in unique viewers from January, according to comScore.

The Walt Disney Co. last month signed a deal with Google to deliver ad-supported video clips from ABC and ESPN to YouTube. The agreement, which includes a revenue-sharing deal, does not comprise full-length programming and movies.

TV.com, a unit of CBS Corp., last month reported a 162% increase in unique viewers, a 551% increase in video streams and a 4,316% increase in minutes viewed in February, compared to the same period last year.

The site, which has waged a lower profile marketing campaign in contrast to rival Hulu.com, said it reported a 37% increase in unique viewers, a 33% increase in video streams and a 45% increase in minutes compared to January.

Hulu.com, the NBC Universal and News Corp. co-founded streaming site, continues to increase its exposure via pricey national TV campaigns starring Alec Baldwin and most recently, Seth McFarlane, creator of “Family Guy.”

Through February, Hulu recorded a 32.8% rise in overall streams and a 41.6% surge in unique viewers from January, according to comScore.

 


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