YouTube U.K., studios sign big deal

Company to launch a free movies VOD service

YouTube U.K. is set to launch a free movies on-demand service after inking deals with Lionsgate, MGM and Sony Pictures in the U.S. and content website Blinkbox in the U.K.

The landmark deal will see Google’s video behemoth offer more than 400 pics YouTube Movies channel, free of charge. Titles are focused on cult and classic pics such as “The Night of the Living Dead,” “The Clan of the Cave Bear” and “Buena Vista Social Club” along with a slew of docus and Bollywood pics.

The deal with Blinkbox, which charges £1.99 ($3.08) for movie and TV show rentals, will see around 165 pics available free-of-charge. Titles include Brad Pitt starrer “The Dark Side of the Sun, “Hotel New Hampshire,” starring Jodie Foster and 1995 Berlin fest buzz title “The Addiction.”

Blighty’s online film and tv aggregator will receive revenue from advertising around the films while building awareness of its brand to new auds.

“This is one of many efforts to ensure that people can find all different kinds of video they want to see, from bedroom vlogs and citizen journalism reports to full-length films and TV shows,” said YouTube head of video partnerships Donagh O’Mailey.

YouTube, which already struck deals with Blighty’s Channel 4 and Channel Five to deliver TV programmes, is ramping up its media content. In April, the site struck a strategic three-year distribution deal with French media conglom Lagadere Active.

The YouTube U.S. service launched in April, offering a mix of paid and free film content. The YouTube U.K. movie site may consider introducing paid models somewhere down the line.

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