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Sony Pictures in Talks With YouTube 84

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the slowly-coaxing-execs-into-the-future dept.
CNet is reporting that Sony Pictures may be in talks with YouTube to license full length movies to the video sharing site. Set to post nearly a half a billion dollars in losses this year, YouTube could certainly use some juice to combat sites like NBC-owned Hulu which already has an array of movies for streaming. "Details about what a final agreement could look like are sparse, but any partnership between the two powerhouses would likely benefit both. Representatives from both companies declined to comment. Word of the negotiations comes a week after Disney announced it had licensed short-form content to YouTube. Those clips will come from a range of Disney brands, including ABC and ESPN. For YouTube, obtaining short-form clips from Disney is an important step but still doesn't provide what YouTube needs most."
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Sony Pictures in Talks With YouTube

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:34PM (#27482269)

    ...will make the most mediocre offerings on Netflix instant viewing seem absolutely stellar by comparison.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:36PM (#27482291) Journal

    >>>Set to post nearly a half a billion dollars in losses this year

    Youtube is the most-popular video site. It should be making hand-over-fist in dollars. How can this be?

    • by Karganeth (1017580) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:45PM (#27482393)
      Maybe it's because nobody purchases anything from YouTube.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Feminist-Mom (816033)
        Yes, but what is the cost of running it that can cause it to lose a half a billion dollars in one year?
        • by Cassius Corodes (1084513) on Monday April 06, 2009 @08:00PM (#27483475)
          Prolly the bandwidth. From the universal repository of knowledge that is wikipedia "n March 2008, YouTube's bandwidth costs were estimated at approximately US$1 million a day".
          • by Feminist-Mom (816033) <feminist,mom&gmail,com> on Monday April 06, 2009 @08:42PM (#27483767)
            That makes sense. Added to the cost of the zillion employees they have to comb the thing for video that need to be taken down, or at least to write the software. And the constant legal issues. Throw in just the machines, and now I see that is reasonable as a loss, esp. that they don't sell anything. On the other hand everyone I know generally uses it as a first choice. Maybe in a few years it will make money. Remember the (good?) old days when Amazon didn't show a profit for years?
            • It wouldn't surprise me if they find a way to monetize it before it runs the risk of tanking. Although some of that might be dependent on how many companies are willing to work with them and adjust their business models.
              • by Mozk (844858)

                Monetization doesn't mean what you think it means.

                • That depends on who you ask.
                • by eleuthero (812560)
                  or maybe it does...

                  Monetize 1. To convert into money. 2. To convert from securities into currency that can be used to purchase goods and services.
                  Investopedia Commentary
                  For example, you'll often hear Internet marketers talk about "monetizing website visitors." This is another way of saying that the marketers are trying to figure out a way of making money from website visitors, such as through advertising, e-commerce, etc.

            • I could be wrong... but I don't think that Youtube pays people to look for copyrighted works. The people who do that are the big companies that make the works (like Sony). They send a takedown notice to Youtube, Youtube removes the video.

              That's like saying that you should have to pay somebody to constantly watch your car so that when people write chapters of Harry Potter in the dirt on it they can wash it off. They don't control what users put up.

              I know... awful car analogy.
    • by Albanach (527650) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:45PM (#27482397) Homepage

      Youtube is the most-popular video site. It should be making hand-over-fist in dollars. How can this be?

      It's because youtube typically has no adverts on user submitted videos. If google made money off of copyright material they'd be looking at big lawsuits. So they typically only have advertising on licensed content. They need more deals like the one suggested to deliver more advertising revenue.

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:48PM (#27482427) Journal

      Youtube is the most-popular video site. It should be making hand-over-fist in dollars. How can this be?

      Being most-popular is not an advantage when no one has figured out how to profit from it. Most-popular means highest costs in bandwidth, servers, etc.

      Ad spend is shrinking globally. How exactly is YouTube going to make money when everyone and their dog uses their servers and bandwidth for free?

      Reminds me of the dotcom boom... sure, we're losing money on every transaction, but we'll make up for it in volume.

      • Here's hoping they're putting more thought into the problem than that.
      • by megaditto (982598)

        How exactly is YouTube going to make money when everyone and their dog uses their servers and bandwidth for free?

        Well, the users are already paying to their ISPs for their bandwidth. Couldn't Youtube demand a cut of that, or at least get "free" bandwidth for better quality service to the provider's customers?

        If the ISPs don't cooperate, Youtube could always downgrade the videos or display adds like "Your XX ISP doesn't want to play ball which might mean more costs to you. May we recommend this YY provider in your area?"

        • by TheP4st (1164315)
          So, those of us who barely ever use Youtube should subsidize Rickrolling.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by skarphace (812333)

          Well, the users are already paying to their ISPs for their bandwidth. Couldn't Youtube demand a cut of that, or at least get "free" bandwidth for better quality service to the provider's customers?

          If the ISPs don't cooperate, Youtube could always downgrade the videos or display adds like "Your XX ISP doesn't want to play ball which might mean more costs to you. May we recommend this YY provider in your area?"

          So it's cool if you break net neutrality rules if it's in Google's favor? Sheesh...

    • Bandwidth, electricity, server maintenance- with their massive size I can be that being immense. They only have adds on a few different pages. I really hope google does not decide to drop them at some point.
      • by aliquis (678370)

        Though, I wonder how Vimeo does then? They only allow 1 HD video / week nowadays and "just" 500 MB / week or something such, but anyway, has always had much higher quality than youtube.

        Guess they may have much less people just browsing from video to video though.

        • by corsec67 (627446)

          For Vimeo, if you pay you can upload more HD movies, so that is one possible source of revenue.

          I do like Vimeo a lot more than YouTube.

          • by aliquis (678370)

            Still the free things kicks youtubes butt, they even let people download the original video!

            • Vimeo is strict (Score:3, Interesting)

              by tepples (727027)
              Vimeo's guidelines [vimeo.com] are even stricter than YouTube's. You can't upload public domain videos, and you can't upload videos on behalf of an author who is someone else. You can't upload videos to promote your business. You can't upload videos of video games at all because you aren't the game's author.
            • by skeeto (1138903)

              they even let people download the original video

              youtube-dl [bitbucket.org] - you can grab the HD videos too.

              • by aliquis (678370)

                Except, like, you know, any such solutions will only save the re-encoded flash video and not the original video.

                Yeah, you can save the flash file.

                • by skeeto (1138903)

                  I guess you missed the HD part of my comment. What I have seen so far is that the HD version will be an MP4 containing a Quicktime stream. It's not flash video junk.

                  • by aliquis (678370)

                    I saw the HD part but assumed it was still flash.

                    Though flash video can still contain content of decent quality, such as H.264 + AAC or something such (use &fmt=18.)

                    May still have been re-encoded though, Vimeo let you download true original, not just a decent format.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      YouTube makes virtually nothing in advertising and have extraordinarly high bandwidth cost. Short videos, like the majority of the ones on YouTube, are difficult to monetize. People won't wait through a 30 second video ad, so the best you can do is overlays and advertising outside the video.

      For full length quality content, like that featured on Hulu people will have the patience to wait through 4-5 15 second ads over the length of a 45 minute TV show. Hulu is also able to snatch up traffic from people that

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sexconker (1179573)

        Hulu's quality pales in comparison to that of a decent encode you could:

        Make yourself
        Download from the intertubes.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Most people would much rather directly stream a fairly high quality video, than wait 3 hours for some pixelated piece of crap rared into 50 different password protected files.

        I don't know where you've been pirating, but the worst case is 50 different non-protected rar files. Quality is generally very good, much better than Hulu. Additionally, I can play it wherever I want, without an Internet connection, without waiting through 15-30 seconds of ad at every seek, on any video player that can handle it -- which means my own keybindings, not Hulu's -- oh, and Flash sucks for video, compared to just about any standalone video player.

        I stopped watching Naruto when it got picked up by

    • YouTube doesn't have to make money. Google puts ads on it (gratis) and collects advertising revenue directly. If YouTube collected advertising revenue and had to post (pay) it to its parent company, accounting would become complex and taxes may take effect twice (though this is an expense and shouldn't be taxed, usually). YouTube, as a separate company, does have to post a profit once in a while to be considered a business (legally) and enjoy the legal benefits of being a business (like cutting all expen
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by CyberSlammer (1459173)
      Wow, let's see...considering just about every music artist has had their music video removed over the past year might have something to do with it. Not to mention TV show clips have disappeared, it's pretty much turned into who is the next numa numa or Star Wars kid.....lame.
  • by Mystery00 (1100379) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:47PM (#27482415)

    I just had a look at Hulu and got this:

    We're sorry, currently our video library can only be streamed within the United States.

    Google combating who? The only competition is torrent.

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:53PM (#27482461) Journal

      Google combating who? The only competition is torrent.

      Google combating the licensors of the content, who wish their distribution channels in non-US markets to remain free of easy, legal online competition. Pandora has the same issue with streaming audio.

      Hulu competes with bt for content delivery, but is also competes with DVDs, VHS, movie theaters, etc. That last one is pretty important -- many movies are just hitting theaters overseas when DVDs or online distribution is released to the US market.

  • by MrNonchalant (767683) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:59PM (#27482511)

    Let's be clear. YouTube isn't set to post anything, let alone a loss. Google as a whole will post huge profits again, albeit below last year, and that will be that.

    • Whether or not Google publically posts P&L by division, analysts have pegged Youtube for a half a billion in losses in the current year.

      And Youtube will post a profit or loss -- whether that is disclosed to the public is another matter (and most likely will not be disclosed), but you can bet your bottom dollar that Youtube will post a loss (or gain :) ) to Google's books.
  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Monday April 06, 2009 @06:05PM (#27482579)
    Sony Playstation 3 firmware upgrade added the link-in to Youtube during the last upgrade. Anyone who DIDN'T see this coming was blind.

    Sony and it's empire vs. Microsoft and Disney and ABC on the other. Paramount is on the Hulu/Xbox side, owning NBC which really started moving so much of its stuff to Hulu, all the SNL episodes and lots of its archive stuff.

    This fight will expand to be a USA vs. the world thing. If I am over at Google/Youtube my strategy is to take licensing outside the states. Get international content exclusive to Youtube with the Playstation tie in. Get broadband deals done with the major providers in Europe. Isolate the Hulu guys to providing US content only.

    Content is king, and it's like suddenly everyone realized the general public couldn't do it. There are only so many videos of your guild's Epic WoW raid or cats flushing toilets that will hold an ad revenue stream in place.

    Sony can really break the Hulu grip if they eschew any embedded commercials in the video streams. Grab Fox Studios and maybe Lionsgate, get New Line Cinema and it's game over.

    Should be interesting...
    • What? I didn't get any upgrade while i was playing Playstation 2...
    • by sootman (158191)

      This fight will expand to be a USA vs. the world thing.

      Cool. Maybe in 5 years those involved will make a videogame out of it. You can be a Sony exec with a briefcase full of rootkits, a Google exec with a "Don't Be Evil" shield, a YouTube coder who can disappear in the San Bruno fog and respawn safely at Tanforan... [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Getting pretty sick of hearing these types of stories...Maybe the internet needs a bailout? I mean afterall, if a company posts losses, that must mean they're in trouble right? It can't possibly mean anything else like a shifting interest or more competition or declining quality offerings...it's always too big to fail.

    I really hope youtube tanks but only after Sony buys it. Then I hope Radioshack buys Sony, then tanks and closes. Then Ruphert Murdoch will buy everyones trash, then he'll tank, then we'll be

  • So soon it will be possible to watch blocky, smeary versions of all the Spider-Man films in a web browser. Awesome!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    For YouTube, obtaining short-form clips from Disney is an important step but still doesn't provide what YouTube needs most.

    Porn.

  • Signs (Score:4, Funny)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday April 06, 2009 @07:15PM (#27483149)
    Isn't Sony being consumer friendly one of the signs of the coming apocalypse? I don't know about you guys, but I'm going to start hoarding food and weapons.
    • by petra13 (785564)
      Perhaps they're not being consumer friendly... Since their CD rootkit scheme a couple years ago backfired they're branching out to find new and compelling ways to pwn consumers computers.
      /conspiracy theory
  • When I read the title, I thought Sony was approaching YouTube to create a full length movie. Putting Sony's content on YouTube makes a bit more sense than YouTube's content on Sony.
  • It's going to be a 320x240 version of HD, with the word HD in a small button in the lower right. When you click it, it expands to 400x300, wow!

    All the movies transferred to Goo Ray are going to be defocused, underexposed, shaken, & the audio muffled for the Goo Tube look you've come to expect.

  • by PhillC (84728) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @02:35AM (#27486083) Homepage Journal
    I think we'll see a lot more announcements like this in the next 2 weeks - other Studios and TV Broadcasters putting long form content on YouTube, laden with advertising to generate revenue. The adverts will be pre-roll, mid-roll and possibly post-roll as well.

    I also prophesise that YouTube/Google will not understand broadcast timecodes and will require everything in simple seconds, to two decimal places. Why do they need timecodes? To know where to insert the advertising of course. Will users be able to skip the advertising mid-roll? Not a chance. And what problems will timecodes in seconds, with two decimal places, create? I believe we'll see adverts inserted at the incorrect places as different frame rates between PAL, NTSC and film content are not taken into account, or ad breaks that are placed in content at obvious points like fades/transitions/mixes (whatever you'd like to call them) will be a few frames incorrect, so the transition will happen slightly before or after the ad break.

    I also predict that YouTube won't really understand about TV resolution and will request everything at 640x480 frame size, rather than say 720x576 for PAL. I predict they may also have problems dealing with Full Height Anamorphic content, but of course that's just a hunch.

    Don't ask me how I know, just looking into my crystal ball you understand.......

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