YouTube starts running full-length CBS shows

Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:02pm EDT
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By Yinka Adegoke

NEW YORK (Reuters) - YouTube, the largest video-sharing Website, has started to run full-length TV shows from CBS Corp's archive, in its latest step to boost advertising revenue by adding professional programing.

The site, owned by Google Inc, 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 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 and General Electric's 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.   Continued...

<p>Cars enter and exit CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California, November 4, 2007. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>