The Lion Roars on YouTube

YouTube is the place to watch those funky homemade short videos, right? Stuff like cats doing clever (or stupid) things, or stunts that might make it on AFHV. And of course there are those clips from TV shows, many of which are posted illegally by viewers and soon get taken down. But you don’t find a lot of lengthy, substantial content on YouTube, right?

You may be surprised to find that this conventional wisdom is wrong. Google has been hard at work to boost YouTube’s appeal (so that it can generate more advertising revenue), and has been negotiating with content creators so that copyrighted material can be posted legitimately on the site. This week, the news broke that MGM Studios has agreed to make content available on YouTube. This will including not only complete episodes of popular TV shows, but full-length movies as well. According to a report in the New York Times, MGM will be posting movies including “Bulletproof Monk” and “The Magnificent Seven”.

CBS has already agreed to post full-length episodes of some of its older televisions shows, so this is all part of YouTube’s efforts to have legal and complete programs and movies on the site. I have to wonder how successful this effort will be. The service is limited by the low resolution of YouTube clips, and the fact that most people come to the site for “potato chip” entertainment: little segments that don’t take a lot of time. If people want to watch full-length programming, I expect that most would prefer to go to Joost or Hulu where you get better resolution, not to mention a less cluttered setting in which to watch a lengthy program.