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YouTube May Link Out To Broadcasters’ VOD Sites?

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Last week, the BBC announced that its iPlayer would start ingesting metadata for programmes from other broadcasters, ensuring that the service will carry VOD listings for ITV (LSE: ITV) Player, 4oD, S4/Clic, Demand Five and SeeSaw.

Turns out YouTube may be also do similar. We understand at least one broadcaster is talking with Google (NSDQ: GOOG) about such a project, though things are at an early, exploration stage.

A YouTube spokesperson says: “We’re exploring the possibility but don’t have anything to share beyond that at the moment.”

YouTube already has proper deals in the UK to host catch-up public-service TV from 4oD and Demand Five, plus many more non-traditional operators.

But no further broadcasters have signed up since those deals were announced in winter last year. In other words, ITV, management of which has been in flux, has not consented to license its shows to YouTube, nor to Hulu, nor SeeSaw, nor others.

Carrying the listings for those shows would allow YouTube to continue its aim of being a premium TV on-ramp, but would allow ITV to continue on its current path of attracting audiences to ITV.com.

Though it may seem to run counter to the BBC’s intention to make its content widely accessible on all platforms, the corporation’s catch-up shows are also absent from YouTube. In proposed new guidelines, the Beeb is also putting tight limits on its syndication to third parties. Like ITV, then, a deal under which YouTube hosts listings and links, but not the content would likewise benefit the self-hosted iPlayer back on bbc.co.uk.

An ITV spokesperson says: “We welcome the deal with the BBC as it makes our content more easily accessible to viewers who are searching for it, but there are no further meta-data linking deals to announce with Google/YouTube or anyone else at this time.”

A BBC spokesperson says: “The partners we