(Adds background, executive quote)
By Yinka Adegoke
NEW YORK Oct 10 YouTube, the largest
video-sharing Website, has started to run full-length TV shows
from CBS Corp's (CBS.N) archive, in its latest step to boost
advertising revenue by adding professional programming.
The site, owned by Google Inc (GOOG.O), said on Friday it
was talking to other TV networks to sign similar deals to CBS.
Many TV networks already run short clips on YouTube, which also
offers millions of home videos uploaded by users.
A mix of archive CBS shows, including "Star Trek," "Young
and the Restless" and "Beverly Hills 90210," will now be
available in full-length episodes of 20 minutes to 48 minutes.
The shows will have a full-length badge to distinguish them
from shorter clips, and will be available in a new 'theater'
mode to improve the viewing experience, YouTube said.
Until now, YouTube videos were predominantly short clips of
10 minutes or less. The company has been experimenting with
full-length shows for some months with Time Warner Inc's
(TWX.N) HBO and CBS's Showtime cable networks.
The new partnership will put YouTube in more direct
competition with Hulu, the online video site owned by News Corp
NWSa.N and General Electric's (GE.N) NBC Universal.
Hulu features up-to-date full-length shows from News Corp's
Fox networks, NBC and CBS. It also has a YouTube channel which
features short-clip versions of its shows.
YouTube's audience size dwarfs Hulu. YouTube is the world's
largest online video site with more than 330 million users in
August, according to Web audience measurement firm comScore.
Hulu by comparison had just 3.3 million users.
But even with more than 13 hours of video uploaded every
minute, YouTube has struggled to establish a strong advertising
business model to justify the $1.65 billion price tag that
Google paid for the site in 2006.
Advertisers have been reluctant to commit major marketing
dollars to running brand campaigns alongside grainy,
unprofessional home videos.
This is partly why YouTube executives have been working on
deals to extend their relationship with media companies. Google
and Youtube are also fighting a $1 billion copyright
infringement lawsuit from Viacom Inc VIAb.N over content
uploaded to the site without Viacom's permission.
YOUTUBE'S PROFESSIONAL ADS
YouTube executives said CBS would sell the advertisements
around the shows. Both companies will share advertising
revenue, but financial terms of the relationship were not
disclosed. CBS could not immediately be reached for comment.
"It's all about advertisers maximizing their reach and
using the most effective ad format for where the user might be
situated," Shiva Rajaraman, a senior product manager for
YouTube, said in an interview.
Google investors and Wall Street analysts have raised
concerns about when YouTube will start to make a meaningful
contribution to the search advertising leader's bottom line.
Analysts at Piper Jaffray estimated that YouTube would earn
around $200 million in revenue next year, compared with
Google's expected revenue of around $27 billion.
YouTube said on Tuesday it would start to sell music and
video games in its first step into online shopping.
(Editing by Lisa Von Ahn; Editing by Bernard Orr)