updated 02:30 pm EST, Thu November 6, 2008
YouTube Full Movies Soon
YouTube is on the verge of launching a streaming service for major full-length movies, unnamed entertainment executives are reportedly telling CNET. Similar to Hulu, the feature would let users watch ad-supported movies from "major" studios and is believed to use a widescreen player instead of the 4:3 ratio used for amateur videos. Both YouTube's parent Google and its movie partners are believed far enough into negotiations that a formal launch could be due in as little as 30 to 90 days.
The release is said to be chiefly held up by Google's preferences for how ads appear during movie playback. While it's unknown which format it would like to use, the search engine firm has reportedly conflicted with movie studios, which would like to have full control over how and where ads appear in movies.
A deal with studios is seen as a major turnaround for YouTube, which has been dominated by its namesake user-made videos and has had few placements for ads to generate income either in banners or as part of the videos themselves. Most in-video ads are limited to major content providers.
It's currently unlikely that a movie-oriented YouTube service will be available outside of the web browser. Most ad-subsidized web video services insert ads using Flash to rotate in newer ads over time, but the iPhone, HTC Touch Diamond and other devices with dedicated YouTube clients often have no avenue to load Flash ads or other dynamic content into playback, which would either force studios to either restrict the movies to the desktop or else give mobile users ad-free access.