UPDATE: Contrary to what we reported earlier, users will not leave YouTube to watch Sony’s movies and TV shows. Instead, they will be able to watch them through Sony’s Crackle video player, which will be embedded on YouTube and accessible from a new “Crackle” channel.
EARLIER: YouTube announced Thursday that it has reached deals with Sony Pictures and several other smaller content providers to stream full-length TV shows and movies on its site.
To watch Sony’s TV shows and movies, users will click on the title of the show or movie and be directed to Sony’s Crackle Web site, where their episode or movie will start playing on Crackle’s video player. So, users will actually be leaving YouTube to watch Sony’s movies and TV shows, which could create problems for YouTube in terms of retaining viewers.
Sony will control the ads that air during their films and TV shows, and Crackle will also get credit for the traffic. In terms of ad revenue, a rep from YouTube said that Google would share it with all of its content providers, with the providers getting the majority of the ad revenues.
Sony is providing 15 movies (like Blue Lagoon, Single White Female and St. Elmo’s Fire) and roughly 20 TV shows (including Bewitched, Charlie’s Angels, Party of Five and News Radio). Only library titles are covered under the deal, so fans of Sony’s Rescue Me, currently airing on FX, won’t be able to watch it on YouTube, even though the show is on Hulu.
YouTube is also redesigning its Web site to create what seems like a Hulu-like interface for professionally produced content. On the front of this new page, users will be able to click on a “Shows” tab to browse programs by genre, network, title and popularity. The “Subscriptions” tab that’s currently on YouTube’s main site will also be on this new landing page, directing logged-in users to content from providers to which they’ve subscribed. This new homepage should launch Thursday evening. The available professionally produced content will consist of thousands of TV episodes and hundreds of films, from new and existing partners, like Starz, CBS, MGM, Lionsgate and Discovery.
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