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MGM, YouTube pact for pics

Select films to be available online

The Lion has gotten into bed with YouTube.

The venerable studio, eager to monetize its library however possible, will allow YouTube to stream certain MGM pics and TV skeins in their entirety in exchange for ad coin. Deal reps a significant step forward for Google¹s video sharing site, which has been heavily courting Hollywood to broaden its offerings beyond short user-generated fare.

The site recently began streaming TV episodes and indie films in their entirety, but until now, it has only streamed clips of studio pics. Pact gives the site a better chance to compete against Hulu, the joint venture of News Corp. and NBC Universal, which streams TV episodes and pics in their entirety.

As is often the case with such deals, MGM is limiting its offerings to protect ancillary markets: It will initially allow YouTube to stream will begin streaming certain action pics such as “Bulletproof Monk” and “The Magnificent Seven,” along with clips from pics such as “Legally Blonde.” It will also stream episodes from the skein “American Gladiators” in their entirety.

James Bond movies are not part of the deal.

The MGM pact in last in series of Hollywood deals for YouTube. It recently began streaming episodes from the original “Star Trek” and “Beverly Hills 90210” under its deal with CBS and streams clips from Lionsgate pics under a deal with that minimajor. It has also experimented with full-length episodes from HBO and Showtime.

And YouTube clearly wants to add more deals ­ and Hollywood content ­ soon, with Warners and Sony considered likely candidates on the film side since they aren¹t attached to Hulu. For now Sony is offering minisodes on YouTube, much the way it does with Crackle.

However, Paramount is less likely given parent Viacom¹s $1 billion copyright infringement suit against the site. And certain digital network execs are reluctant to enter into deals with YouTube, believing the site could be better about policing unauthorized material uploaded by users. To get around that, YouTube has developed a VideoID feature to better identify content, regardless who is uploading it, and to monetize it.

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