Now You can see Full Length MGM Movies on Youtube

YouTube is by far the world’s biggest stage for online video. But in some ways Hulu is stealing the show.

With critical plaudits and advertising dollars flowing to Hulu, the popular online hub for television shows and feature films, YouTube finds itself in the unanticipated position of playing catch-up.

On Monday, YouTube will move forward a little, announcing an agreement to show some full-length television shows and films from MGM, the financially troubled 84-year-old film studio.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios will kick off the partnership by posting episodes of its decade-old “American Gladiators” program to YouTube, along with full-length action films like “Bulletproof Monk” and “The Magnificent Seven” and clips from popular movies like “Legally Blonde.” These will be free to watch, with ads running alongside the video.

The initial lineup may not be all that compelling, but for YouTube, which is owned by Google, the relationship with MGM is a crucial step in an essential reinvention. YouTube had its debut in 2005 and quickly became famous for the democratic sharing of bite-size video clips. Users love the site — 81 million people visited in September alone, according to Nielsen.

But Hollywood executives have complained over the way clips of their movies and shows pop up on the site without their permission. And advertisers have found that user-created videos of pet pratfalls and oddball skits are largely incompatible with commercials for cars and other products. Revenue at YouTube has disappointed Google investors since the company bought the start-up in 2006.

Now YouTube is trying harder to make friends with Hollywood — and emulate the appeal of Hulu, a joint venture of NBC and Fox. Along with its MGM relationship, YouTube has recently forged ties with the independent studio Lionsgate and with CBS, which this month started posting to YouTube full-length episodes of older shows like “Star Trek” and “Beverly Hills 90210.”

“We believe in comprehensiveness, and we want to have deals with everybody,” said Jordan Hoffner, the director of content partnerships for YouTube. “We want to be able to give users the most content possible.”

In the last few months, YouTube has swept its virtual floors and painted its stage as it prepares to offer more professional videos. This month, it introduced a “theater view” button that expands the viewing screen and darkens the rest of the Web page for optimum viewing — a feature similar to one introduced by Hulu.

YouTube has also developed a system called VideoID. It allows media companies to spot unauthorized clips of their material on the site, and then either remove the clips or leave them up and sell ads on them. As part of its deal, MGM will begin scouring YouTube for studio clips, from properties like the James Bond and Rocky franchises, and pulling many of them from the site.

But MGM will also work with YouTube to choose which clips can remain online, supported by advertising. Source