YouTube made one of its first deals with a major studio to stream full-length films, but the agreement offers only very limited content and may not be the breakthrough YouTube hoped for.
On Monday, MGM Worldwide said it created two new YouTube channels to promote some of its content. The Impact channel will be used to promote MGM's video-on-demand deal with Comcast that includes action movies. The channel currently includes just two full-length movies -- "Lone Wolf McQuade" and "Bulletproof Monk" -- plus about 40 movie clips.
The American Gladiators channel shows full episodes of the first season of that television show, as well as clips.
Both channels will be refreshed with new content each month, and the streamed content features advertisements. MGM did not say if it plans to offer many more full-length films in the future. In a statement, it said it would offer a "sampling" of television shows and full-length movies.
MGM also said it planned to launch additional channels on YouTube in the future.
While YouTube would seem a natural place for content developers to display their films because of its millions of viewers, the site irked some studios by streaming copyright programming without permission.
While YouTube and content providers like Viacom have been battling out the copyright issue in the courts, NBC Universal and News Corp. launched Hulu, a Web site that streams television shows and movies. MGM and others including Fox, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures Television already offer their content on the site, which is growing in popularity. For users looking for full-length TV shows and movies it's an easy site to navigate, and users know they are finding quality legal streams there.
In a statement, YouTube said the agreement with MGM will strengthen its position as a destination where Hollywood studios can reach a worldwide audience and where people can watch movies, TV shows and clips.