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YouTube strikes studio deals

YouTube, the Google-owned online video platform, has launched its much-anticipated US-only portal for full length TV shows and movies and has struck a raft of programming deals with US studios and content providers.

The move puts YouTube in direct competition with News Corp and NBC Universal joint venture Hulu in the United States as it looks to beef up revenue from the free ad supported videos.

YouTube has previously avoided professional content in favour of user generated content, but this move highlights the company’s ambition to move into this field.

The company has struck deals with BBC Worldwide, Sony Pictures Television, Lionsgate, MGM and CBS Paramount for series including CBS’s latest murder mystery drama Harper’s Island, BBCWW’s Life of Birds, MGM’s The Addams Family and Sony’s classic sitcom Married With Children.

The move will also see movies including Richard Linklater’s Slacker, horror film Carrie and documentary Mayor of Sunset Strip available on the site.

Studios including Disney and Warner Bros have not yet inked deals with the site but YouTube says that it is in talks with a number of parties to expand the new venture.