YouTube Grabs More Long-Form Video Content in U.K.

Following last month’s deal with Channel 4, Google has announced another major content agreement with U.K. broadcaster Five that will bring its full-length programming to YouTube — funded primarily by pre- and mid-roll ads.

As with the Channel 4 deal, the partnership is non-exclusive, and Five’s sales teams will be responsible for selling video and display inventory around its assets, which will include popular shows such as Neighbours, Home and Away, and The Gadget Show.

Five programming will be showcased via a dedicated channel, and also via YouTube’s recently launched U.K. shows section, for which YouTube launched its first ever offline ad campaign earlier this week. That campaign centers on the message “YouTube’s got TV,” and includes a range of outdoor and print ads, as well as online video pre-roll and display ads — suggesting the company is serious about pursuing the online TV market.

YouTube says the Five deal will further extend the broadcaster’s reach and unlock additional ad inventory to capitalize on growing demand for its content online. To help illustrate that point, parent company Google said searches for the term “neighbours on demand” were up 600 percent in 2009.

Commenting on the relationship, Dawn Airey, chairman and chief executive of Five appears to agree, stating, “This is a tremendously important deal for Five because in one fell swoop it extends the reach of our content beyond linear TV and our own existing websites to a new audience of younger, upwardly mobile and web-savvy individuals — an audience that advertisers are equally desirous of attracting.”

Five has had problems monetizing content successfully via its own Demand Five online video portal, in part due to poor user experience. Allowing YouTube to host and deliver its content while retaining control of ad sales will help eliminate that headache, while leaving it free to work with other platforms such as Hulu, which is expected to launch a U.K. product early next year.

Airey added that “Legitimate internet video operators are far from the ‘parasites’ that some have sought to portray them as in the past; on the contrary, they can be an important partner in helping modern day broadcasters reach new audiences and continue to fund high quality original content.”

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