Report: YouTube To Offer Feature Films

Google plays coy

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Google didn’t exactly deny reports YouTube would be streaming full-length feature films sometime within the next three months. In fact, it was more of a well, we’re talking to lots of people right now.

Following the prognostications of unnamed entertainment executives that within the next 30-90 days YouTube would feature ad-supported films, CNet’s exact quote from Google was: "We are in negotiations with a variety of entertainment companies. Our goal is to offer maximum choice for our users, partners, and advertisers."
Report: YouTube To Offer Feature Films
It’s been three years since John Battelle stripped Google of its search company label in his book The Search, declaring the now-iconic and powerful juggernaut a media company instead. But then Yahoo, with its Hollywood-pedigree CEO Terry Semel, was expected to be fully in bed with the entertainment industry.

Oh how our roads have widened since then, with Google dabbling in all forms of media, from print to radio to mobile, and potentially even WiFi. YouTube in particular, though, seems destined for some kind of rebirth. Making money from short amateur videos has proven difficult and as broadband capacity and penetration increase users will be looking toward the next evolution.

And then there’s Hulu, the NBC/News Corp. venture that’s showing the Web’s premiere video site up in recent months with long-form content and is actually making money at it, and Viacom’s billion-dollar lawsuit coupled with MTV’s entire music video catalogue, sans unmentionable file-sharing networks, suddenly a comprehensive and high quality video alternative.

The biggest immediate obstacle, besides picture quality and the reluctance to watch movies on mobile phones or even computer monitors, is exactly how advertising will be interwoven—preroll, postroll, commercial breaks, or embeddable, clickable ads. Likely, they’ll figure that out in due time.

It’s an interesting leap, that’s for sure, and a quantum one at that, springing over what some may consider a more logical, stair-step, and paying-it-forward type choice: short films. No doubt these artistic vignettes, like the imperiled short story in literature, could use a powerful new platform.

Regardless, as big and interesting as feature-length films on YouTube would be, the real blockbuster comes in the more distant future, when Google supplants or challenges cable TV, movie rental businesses, and even its âme sœur Apple. Will anyone be surprised when a nifty converter box with Google’s name across the side starts showing up on TV-land’s doorstep?

Report: YouTube To Offer Feature Films
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