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In the latest sign that web video is fast becoming a respectable domain for even top actors and directors, YouTube and the William Morris Agency are about to hatch a new venture. The Google-owned video site and the Hollywood talent firm, which reps actors Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe and the producers J. J. Abrams and Michael Bay, are engaged in talks and are close to signing a deal, NYT reports.
The deal would have clear benefits for both sides. YouTube would get more professional content, which advertisers crave, while WMA and its clients would get an ownership stake in the videos they create for the site, while receiving better distribution than if they did it on their own. WMA, along with other talent reps like Creative Artists Agency, has been focusing more on digital over the past year. Back in March, WMA teamed up with Silicon Valley VC firms Accel Partners and Venrock to start a digital entertainment fund. And last summer, the agency participated in a second round of funding for RoyaltyShare, a venture designed to promote its digital content and online fee-management services.