YouTube said late Friday that it would begin to offer full-length television shows through the site, initially partnering with CBS. Among the shows now available are select episodes of Star Trek, The Young & The Restless, Beverly Hills 90210, and Californication, among others.
The TV shows would be provided at no charge and would include advertisements that would play before, during, and after the videos. CBS will sell the advertising for the show, and YouTube would get a cut of the revenues.
Here’s hoping that this deal is a sign of improving relations between the video site and the entertainment industry. As you may remember, CBS was formerly a part of Viacom, the company who sued YouTube for $1 billion in March of last year.
While Viacom no longer has anything to do with the production arm of CBS any longer (it only retains rights to MTV Networks, BET Networks, Paramount, and Paramount Pictures’ home entertainment operations), the ties are still there. This move could wrm Viacom’s heart ever so slightly, and may give YouTube a slight edge in any negotiations.
It also seems to be a bit of a concession on the part of the entertainment industry that it needs the leading online video site. While industry-backed sites like Hulu are doing okay, they aren’t even close to touching YouTube.
Maybe its time for the two sides to bury the hatchet, as it would be financially beneficial for all. As the old adage goes, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”