Will Sony push its films down the 'Tube?

Posted by Jodi Harris on April 10th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Sony Corp.'s entertainment division is is considering the possibility of posting movies on YouTube. If a deal can be reached, it will be the first time a major U.S. movie studio has posted a full-length film on the Google-owned video sharing site.

According to a report on CNET, Sony is hoping that the move will help boost the profile of its online video site, Crackle, while YouTube could be using the deal to lure other studios into partnerships. A related story at frames the deal as an effort from Hollywood studios to accommodate viewers’ changing demands without cutting into revenue from DVDs and pay-television.

However, as it is unlikely that Sony will offer anything other than older films from its catalog, or allow syndication of its content onto users' sites, it's a bit unclear what ground would be gained with this content play.

It remains to be seen whether the industry will gain anything -- revenue or insight -- from offering films like "Groundhog Day" or "Stripes" on YouTube. These films are already on Crackle, and they run on basic cable practically every few weeks as well. The true test of whether the studios can adapt to viewer demand is for one of them to step up to the plate and offer a high-demand film release online -- perhaps a well-received film that's in between theatrical and home video release windows; or even a low-budget indie that hits YouTube for a limited time before its theatrical release, to build some extra buzz.

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