San Bruno (CA) - YouTube is close to closing a deal with talent provider William Morris Agency, which would mean that company's clients would star in productions designed specifically for YouTube's format on the web. Production companies could bypass "straight to video," going instead "straight to YouTube."
The Internet is changing; many actors and celebrities are creating their own web content toady. This new YouTube deal would give William Morris clients an ownership stake in the videos they create for the website; it will also give them a chance to increase their level of "celebrity" on the web.
By partnering with a talent agency like this, YouTube is showing that they have a desire to be a landing spot for Hollywood. And making a deal with William Morris would be a significant move in that direction as the agency's clients include such individuals as Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington.
This deal would give YouTube the opportunity to add professionally produced videos to its website, augmenting its library of mainly amateur content and user uploaded videos. The addition of videos of this caliber would give YouTube a greater presence as a true entertainment source, and this might also deliver the monetary answer Google has been seeking - which is how to make money off all the videos it now hosts for free.
Due to privacy and copyright concerns, YouTube doesn't place ads next to most of its user created content. This means the company can only make money off of a small portion of the videos uploaded to the site. YouTube had over 100 million United States viewers in October alone, meaning YouTube's audience is gigantic.
The deal isn't signed yet, so it's too early to get all worked up. But it is something to keep your eye on and watch out for. And, if professional content does come YouTube's way, they may have to change their name to TheyTube - in deference to the production companies now creating the videos instead of regular people.