YouTube to get MGM’s also-rans

According to the New York Times, the rumours about YouTube adding full-length movies are about to come true — sort of. The paper says that MGM will announce a deal with the video site on Monday to run some full TV shows and also some movies, with ads appearing alongside them. But the content isn’t really much to write home about:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios will kick off the partnership by posting episodes of its decade-old “American Gladiators” program to YouTube, along with full-length action films like “Bulletproof Monk” and “The Magnificent Seven” and clips from popular movies like “Legally Blonde.”

Wow — the chance to watch old episodes of American Gladiators and Bulletproof Monk. Hold me back.

Seriously though, while the choice of material isn’t going to set the universe on fire (although I confess that I was a closet fan of American Gladiators, as well as similar shows like Roller Derby), it is obviously the thin edge of the wedge. Greg Sandoval at CNET broke the latest round of rumours about full-length movies on YouTube last week, and at the time I wondered whether YouTube’s infrastructure could even handle the real-time streaming of movies.

If they’re offering clunkers like Bulletproof Monk and Legally Blonde, maybe they won’t have to worry about traffic just yet. And it’s obvious MGM is barely dipping its toe into the waters at YouTube, as the studio’s comments in the story also make abundantly clear:

“We will have some long-form videos up on YouTube, but I don’t think that’s the platform to have 30 or 40 movies up at once,” Mr. Packer said. “I feel much more comfortable doing that on a site like Hulu.”

Sounds like YouTube has a steep hill to climb before it can convince major entertainment conglomerates that it is the place to be.

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