updated 01:00 pm EDT, Thu April 9, 2009
Sony confirms Google talks
Sony has confirmed this week's earlier rumors that it is engaged in talks with YouTube on posting full-length movies on the free video service site, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. If the deal goes through, it would see the first major US studio to do so on a large scale, and the full-length films would be offered for viewing for free, likely supported by ad sales in the stream.
"We are having conversations with YouTube," said Sony Pictures Television spokesperson Paula Askanas, though she did not provide additional details.
YouTube would not comment on the talks with Sony.
Sony Pictures already shows 60 older films and vintage TV shows on its Crackle.com website, while Hulu, owned by NBC Universal and Fox's parent company News Corp., also streams free full-length movies supported by ads. MGM recently started offering a small batch of movies and TV shows on YouTube but hasn't planned an expansion beyond its initial test.
Studios gain from this by giving Internet surfers access to content they'd have to pay for or illegally download otherwise and thereby gain a wider audience. They regularly try to balance this so as not to eat into DVD sales or paid television programming, which is why older movies are unofficially expected to launch first.