YouTube (s GOOG) has already spawned its fair share of web video stars, but the video-sharing giant is now reportedly going after real celebrities. According to The New York Times, YouTube is close to signing a deal with the William Morris Agency that would put the firm’s Hollywood clients in web productions for the site. Unfortunately, what few details The Times reports only raise more questions.
Nabbing top Hollywood talent would certainly fit with YouTube’s recent moves. In its desperate quest for monetizable content, YouTube’s been signing premium content partners from CBS (s cbs) to MGM to Lionsgate. It’s also been prettying itself up for advertisers, offering videos in widescreen, high-quality embed playback and even HD streams.
We’re not quite sure how this William Morris arrangement would work. William Morris has clients like Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe and geek-favorite J.J. Abrams — but which ones will actually participate? And if they do, who is paying for the show’s production? Will these be serialized shows or vlogs? The Times writes that the deal would give William Morris clients an ownership stake in the videos created for the site, but that’s pretty vague.
It’s tough to make any assessment as to whether this is a good deal for all involved until we get more details. We’ve contacted YouTube for comment and will update as we hear more.