LOS ANGELES — YouTube and Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) announced on Monday that the popular video-sharing website will host some full-length television shows and films from the famed Hollywood studio.
YouTube and MGM said the partnership would start with a channel featuring episodes from the popular "American Gladiators" television show of the 1980s and 1990s at youtube.com/americangladiators.
Another channel, youtube.com/impact, will feature clips from action movies such as "Rocky" and "The Magificent Seven" and full-length films such as "Lone Wolf McQuade" and "Bulletproof Monk."
YouTube and MGM said in a joint statement that the videos will be free but will contain advertising. They said new channels would be launched "in the near future."
Google purchased YouTube in 2006 for 1.65 billion dollars and has been searching for ways to translate its immense popularity into a money-making venture without alienating its huge fan base.
YouTube has also been facing competition from other video sites such as Hulu which features a menu of full-length programming from NBC Universal and News Corp.'s Fox.
Under an agreement with CBS and the independent Lionsgate studio, YouTube recently began adding episodes of classic television programs such as "Star Trek," "MacGyver" and "Beverly Hills 90210" to its menu.
It also recently unveiled a feature called "theater view" which enhances its video screen by making it larger, centering it on pages and bordering it with virtual red curtains.
"YouTube is committed to helping our community of fans discover new content and reconnect with their all-time favorite TV shows and movies," said Jordan Hoffner, director of content partnerships for YouTube.
"By partnering with MGM, YouTube is strengthening its position as an entertainment destination where Hollywood studios can reach a global audience and where our audience can watch their favorite full-length films, TV shows, and clips."
The MGM library of some 4,000 titles includes such franchises as the James Bond and Pink Panther series in addition to Rocky.
"We're looking to mine the breadth and depth of the MGM library to build out and promote branded, multiplatform opportunities on demand, online and wherever viewers consume their entertainment," said Jim Packer, co-president of MGM Worldwide Television.
"Our agreement with YouTube opens the door to a number of themed broadband channels that will both serve the consumers' growing appetite for entertainment media consumption in the digital space and 'on demand' space," he said.
YouTube is the number one site for amateur video but it has had a troubled relationship with Hollywood and other producers of professional content.
Entertainment giant Viacom has filed a copyright lawsuit against YouTube accusing it of being a willing accomplice to Internet users who put clips of Viacom's copyrighted television programs on the site.
Google has attempted to shield itself behind the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, US legislation that says Internet firms are not responsible for what Web users put on websites.
Copyright 2008 AFP
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