YouTube to play full-length TV shows

Posted by Joshua Hill

Chicago (IL) - In the most recent attempt to squeeze money out of YouTube traffic, Google unveiled full-length episodes of some fan favorite TV shows. "We are starting to test full-length programming on YouTube, beginning with some fan favorites requested by you," the YouTube blog announced.

The full-length episodes will be available in traditional view as well as YouTube’s new “theatre view,” which seems to play upon the belief that people want fake curtains (and a ‘lights off’ gimmick) framing their online video watching. In addition, Google is playing around with a new advertising method, playing 15-second ads at the beginning of the video. Ads also roll in during playback and after.

“As we test this new format, we also want to ensure that our partners have more options when it comes to advertising on their full-length TV shows,” YouTube said. "You may see in-stream video ads embedded in some of these episodes; this advertising format will only appear on premium content where you are most comfortable seeing such ads."

However, the full-length videos are not available for viewing outside the U.S. Non-U.S. users trying to access the videos are greeted with a note saying that “This video is not available in your country.”

It is somewhat surprising to us that it took Google and YouTube so long to integrate full-length videos, while other services, foremost Hulu.com, have positioned themselves as leading services in this segment. Can Google and YouTube turn the new service into a goldmine? Time will tell.