YouTube to Promote Film Trailers

Deep Focus, a digital agency to film studios, reached an agreement with YouTube to promote its studio clients’ trailers on the breakaway video portal.

The first trailer promoted under the deal, for Dimension Films’ “Scary Movie 4,” was added to YouTube’s “featured videos” section on Monday. Since that time, it has received more than 437,000 views. That figure rivals the number of times the same trailer has been seen on Yahoo, where it premiered at the beginning of the month.

For the moment, Deep Focus will not pay YouTube to feature its clients’ trailers. Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer said the site will benefit by associating itself with copyright-friendly practices, an area where the company has already been publicly challenged. From the studio’s perspective, he said working with video aggregators rather than quarreling with them makes it more likely a trailer will be viewed as it was intended.

The two companies are in active discussions about developing a paid advertising relationship going forward.

“I’d rather somebody see the trailer the way it was meant to be presented, with pristine quality, shown from beginning to end, than rely on somebody to rip it off Yahoo or AOL and post a shoddy version online,” he said.

As with all YouTube videos, people will be able to embed the trailers on their blogs, MySpace profiles and other Web pages. And thanks to the site’s practice of showing the number of times each video has been viewed, Deep Focus can easily measure the popularity of its trailers, regardless of where they have been posted.

This is not the first content promotion deal for YouTube. Earlier this month, the site set up a partnership with MTV2 to carry scenes from the network’s programs.

YouTube had approximately nine million unique visitors in February, placing it among the top video destinations online, according to figures published by Nielsen//NetRatings this week. The site’s video-going audience now ranks second only to MSN Video, which had 9.3 million uniques for the same period. Google Video, iFilm and Yahoo’s video search each had under seven million.

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