YouTube Adds Freemantle Content

FreemantleMedia, producers of American Idol and other TV entertainment franchises around the world, has signed a deal with YouTube to create original programs for the video sharing-site, as well as to distribute current and future Freemantle TV content on the YouTube platform. For YouTube, this marks another move into the premium content space as it works to build up a bigger library of more advertiser-friendly content.

Under terms of the deal, the two will share in any revenue generated from Freemantle channels and videos. And Freemantle will use YouTube’s VideoID anti-piracy technology, which fingerprints video to weed out illegal copies of copyrighted content. Concerns over YouTube’s copyright policies have been a holdup to getting content from some of the major studios.

This agreement builds on an existing relationship between the two companies as Freemantle already hosts YouTube channels for its TV programming, such as Hole in the Wall (Australia) and X Factor 2007, as well as original web programming like ToyBoize and Atomic Wedgie.

This deal continues YouTube’s push into the premium content space as the company tries to monetize its massive audience. Advertisers have been reluctant to buy spots alongside some of the amateurish and sometimes offensive UGC content that is so prevalent on YouTube. In order to change that, the video giant has been locking up deals with CBS to offer full-length episodes of TV programs and MGM to offer full-length movies on the site.

The question now is, as YouTube acquires more and more premium content, will audiences be able to navigate the thicket of UGC dreck to find the high-quality stuff (and see the ads that accompany it)?

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