YouTube Begins UK Long-Form TV VOD: C4 Signed, May Get ITV

4 Comments

YouTube has secured its first long-form on-demand UK TV content, doing a deal that sees Channel 4 add the same shows to the service that are already carried on the broadcaster’s own 4oD service.

Nearly 3,000 hours of shows – including Hollyoaks, Skins and Peep Show – will be available free with ad support from early 2010.

C4 was already selling its own ad inventory around its short-form clips – something YouTube had started allowing partners to do a few months ago.

It’s a three-year minimum term, though the rev split isn’t being disclosed. C4’s sales team is even getting an opportunity to sell ads around other YouTube partners’ videos.

For C4, it’s non-exclusive. 4oD, which was the UK’s first TV VOD platform and is now free, will continue, and the announcement says “other third party sites and services” are still in the mix.

So YouTube now has one of the four key UK broadcasters’ names to wave in negotiations with the other four, a real platform from which to negotiate for content that would make it a real TV VOD destination. But, as we’ve reported here and here, it’s by no means the only hopeful…

Hulu is seeking a UK foothold, Arqiva is trying to resurrect the Project Kangaroo aggregator, the BBC still offering iPlayer to counterparts, Joost was offering its platform and several parties are aiming to show VOD on TV via Canvas.

Truth is, all of the broadcasters are coming to favour off-site VOD syndication as well as their own-brand initiatives – but no-one wants to do an exclusive deal.

paidContent:UK understands ITV (LSE: ITV) will be announcing one destination in its strategy in the next few weeks. ITV’s outgoing executive chairman Michael Grade told a House Of Lords communications committee on Wednesday (via MediaWeek): “As a result of the Competition Commission turning down the decision to launch Project Kangaroo, I guarantee an American company will take the lion’s share of our content in the UK very soon.

“Google (NSDQ: GOOG) or Hulu. Hulu is looking to launch in the UK. As a result of the commission’s decision, UK creative money will go to the Americans and not get reinvested in the UK.”

4 Comments

Peter Bale

Without wishing to be accused of spamming I left the following comment on the related debate about Hulu/Arqiva.. YouTube news is fascinating but as C4 says, it's non-exclusive. There has to be something in first-mover advantage for quality ad-funded content — hardly words usually associated with You Tube. No broadcaster wants to be held over a barrel more than they already are with YT. They want options and that means Microsoft on various platforms from MSN to Xbox (Sky), Windows Media Center, Mediaroom (BT Vision) plus You Tube and maybe Hulu, Canvas and Arqiva. Come on in, the water is fine. Besides, if you think of this as an advertising issue not a platform one it makes the fact of MSN video player beta being out in the market and proven with advertisers attractive, no?

IndustryPlayer

If you really want to watch a show AVOD, it already exists online. Additonal distribution will add a lot more stream starts, but few streams completed, as they will be watched by the curious, not the committed. So make sure all the ads are upfront.
Hulu gives you the option to front load the ads (so they can bump up their adstream numbers). That's when I go nake a coffee, and just reset the show stream if I miss the start.

Fundamentally it is the right thing to do to control the distribution of your content, ideally through your own player- then you can see which partners matter to you. I wouldn't stop at Youtube if I was C4, but build up a broad base of quality partners. But a decent audience profiling system to aggregate viewer information is what's needed to boost video revenues.

BrainDestroyer

Still smarting from acquiring ITV, an American media company will assume ITV Studios' output soon.

IndustryPlayer

Errol Baran of C4 said at the AOP conference recently that there "wasn't much money right now" in online video sales for them – so good luck with selling all that Youtube inventory, Errol.

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