MGM Deal Brings More Premium Content to YouTube

YouTube has taken another step in its quest to diversify it content beyond satirical Star Wars videos and homemade political rants. The video-sharing site announced it has signed a deal with MGM that will bring many of that studio’s full-length features — supported by in-video advertising — to the Google-owned site.

MGM is starting by launching two YouTube channels: Impact, which will feature MGM action movies like Rocky, Ronin and The Magnificent Seven (and, in a curious bit of genre blurring, Legally Blonde), and American Gladiators, which will show classic episodes of the combat game show from the 1980s. Later channels are to follow, such as one aimed at women viewers that could feature films like Moonstruck.

The deal comes as YouTube attempts to better monetize its site — and relieve tensions with owners of copyrighted content — by striking deals with studios to bring professional-quality videos that are supported by advertising to the site. Much of the pressure comes as Hulu gains online video market share and traffic by offering professional content in a markedly less chaotic environment.

YouTube has recently made similar deals with CBS and Lionsgate, and has also launched a “theater view” option that plays videos in full-screen mode to better accommodate the viewing of long-form content.

YouTube boasts “the most premium content of any online video site,” according to a YouTube spokesperson, and remains committed to matching “the right ad model for the right viewing experience for the right content.”

“By partnering with MGM, YouTube is strengthening its position as an entertainment destination where Hollywood studios can reach a global audience and where our audience can watch their favorite full-length films, TV shows, and clips,” said Jordan Hoffner, director of content partnerships for YouTube, in a written statement.

As of now, the MGM content will run with in-video ads and companion ads, which are placed to the side of the video player but carry ads that match those shown in the video. In-video ads will include pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll, and will vary depending on the length of the content.

YouTube declined to discuss how the revenue will be split between YouTube and MGM.

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