YouTube is set to become a major aggregator of content in Australia with the Google owned entity set to stream full length movies, locally made TV shows and, movies from overseas TV networks according to sources.
The move will see YouTube compete up against Foxtel and free to air TV networks over the next few years, with Google executives not ruling out the possibility that in the future they could also bid for major sporting events that currently attract high rating in Australia.
Last week, YouTube revealed that it was serving more than 1 billion video streams each day globally.
SmartHouse has also been told that content providers in Australia have already been approached to supply content to Google and their YouTube service.
Last night in London, Channel 4 signed a deal with YouTube, to distribute full-length TV shows such as Skins, Hollyoaks and Peep Show.
The timing of the deal coincides with moves by Samsung Australia and Panasonic to expand their YouTube Widgets, which are now built into a new generation of Internet enabled TV’s, which consumers will be able to use to deliver YouTube content, right into their lounge in competition with Foxtel.
The move by Google to offer pay per view or pay by channel content could hurt Telstra’s plans to expand their content services in Australia. Analysts also say that it will also, over time, hurt Foxtel who currently offer a monthly subscription service versus a pay per view or pay per channel service that is coming from YouTube in the future.
During the past few weeks, Telstra’s Justin Milne has been in the USA and Europe shopping for content deals for both a new set top box that Telstra is planning to deliver next year, as well as content for delivery to a new generation of smartphones, netbooks and notebooks which the carrier is now selling via their Telstra T Life shops.
The UK deal which Google has been negotiating for more than six months will also see Channel 4 make its online video catch-up service available via YouTube shortly after shows have aired on TV.
Currently the ABC, Channel Nine and Seven, offer selected programs online, these are by majority shows which they own the rights to in Australia and in most cases have commissioned or shot themselves.
The content is delivered via selected portals like Ninemsn and Yahoo7. The ABC has an iView browser which delivers content over the internet after the viewer has been downloaded.
Under the Channel 4 deal in the UK, YouTube deal viewers will be able to watch the shows free of charge, with the TV network selling the advertising. The network is also set to 3,000 hours of archive programming including shows like Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Brass Eye, Derren Brown
According to the Guardian newspaper, the deal has been struck for an initial period of three years with Channel 4 and YouTube sharing ad revenues “on an agreed formula”. Channel 4 said that the agreement will also see it sell ads around some non-Channel 4 content on YouTube for the first time.
In Australia, the big issue for content producers, movie studio’s and music providers is that they only want to deal with aggregators who can host and sell their service while also maintain copyright integrity said a leading Analyst.
“Google with their YouTube service is now being seen by many content producers as being a “trusted”. They said.
The Guardian claimed that Channel 4’s TV shows will be fully available via YouTube in early 2010. The deal is non-exclusive, allowing Channel 4 to continue distributing its 4oD service via its own website, Channel4.com, and other third-party sites and services.
YouTube said that the partnership was the first time any broadcaster had moved to provide a comprehensive catch-up TV service on its service.
Another threat to Australian TV services is Hulu, the online TV joint venture backed by News Corporation, NBC Universal and Disney. They are also set to deliver content into the Australian market in the future via an IP network.