YouTube is now closer than ever to adding a proper UK TV VOD portal. Though it only has a full-length catchup deal with one domestic broadcaster, Channel 4, it’s launched a UK Shows section on which it’s also piled a load of existing full-length U.S. TV and web programming from the U.S. site.
This looks like a negotiating tactic. Just as SeeSaw (formerly known as Project Kangaroo) unveiled its brand and an empty website this month, both sites need to put something in the shop window that they can show to the other broadcasters with which they’re negotiating.
Scooping anything that can be regarded a “show” – whether British or from conventional TV or not – together with C4’s premium 4oD content may be a good way to illustrate what rightsholders’ content could look like.
YouTube is competing for rights against a host of UK VOD rivals…
— SeeSaw, the project Highfield once led as Project Kangaroo, would be a well-placed leader if it can win any content.
— Hulu is still trying to pick up UK content, offering equity in return for exclusivity.
— BBC is still offering to share iPlayer to all comers and take the whole thing on to TV through Canvas.
— MSN wants to be the “long tail of TV” and has a template agreement with independent producers.
— Blinkbox is also ramping up.
YouTube’s Shows section has 4,000 full-length shows from 60 partners and another 1,000 other TV segments or clips from the likes of BBCWW, Myvideorights and Tiger Aspect, totalling over 3,000 hours. Not all C4’s content will be online until the new year.
Now that YouTube is allowing the broadcasters to sell their own ads – at least, in C4’s case – it may be a more attractive prospect than some of the others. But we understand ITV (LSE: ITV) is still in close negotiations with NBC/News Corp/ABC JV Hulu in a deal that could put one of its execs atop the UK division.
YouTube brought Shows to its U.S. site back in April.