YouTube Links With Media Companies to Host Clips, Share Revenue

Oct 9, 2006  •  Post A Comment

YouTube has struck a deal to host video content from CBS, Showtime and CSTV Networks and split advertising revenue with the television companies.

The agreement, announced Monday, will put news, sports and entertainment clips on YouTube, which has become the most-visited video-sharing Web site. Record labels Sony BMG and Universal Music Group agreed to a similar arrangement that will place their music videos on YouTube.

The agreement represents a step forward for YouTube, which has struggled to generate sales and has been mired in copyright disputes with media companies.

YouTube’s deal with the media companies will test a new copyright protection system developed by the video-sharing site that allows content providers to locate protected material on the service and decide whether to let it remain or be pulled. That development, and the addition of more mainstream fare to YouTube, may help it attract advertisers who had shied away from the sometimes tasteless user-generated clips that made YouTube a cultural sensation.

YouTube’s movement toward a more traditional business model comes amid press reports that Google, the most-used search engine, is in talks to buy the video-sharing site.

CBS content on YouTube will include short clips from “Survivor,” “CSI,” “CBS Evening News With Katie Couric” and other shows, as well as college sports clips from CSTV and promotional videos from Showtime.

YouTube’s agreements with the media companies follow a forum last week hosted by Google at which Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corp., spent time with YouTube CEO Chad Hurley.

The agreements with the music companies will allow YouTube users to incorporate music clips into videos they can create and post on the service. The music labels will also use the copyright protection system on the site.

The music deals are similar to ones Google struck Monday as well with Warner Music Group and Sony BMG, fueling further speculation that Google is close to purchasing the upstart video-sharing site.

YouTube’s alliances with media companies and its potential acquisition by Google mark a turn for the site, which gained popularity because of its orientation toward the user-generated community and its Wild West reputation. The service’s alliances with established corporations may test fans’ loyalty if they perceive a change in YouTube’s character.