YouTube, Sony Pictures Discuss Partnership

Tired of pirating movies from the rough seas of the Internet? If a rumored deal between YouTube and Sony Pictures comes to fruition, you may be able to snag some movies for free on the online video site, though perhaps not enough to hang up your tri-cornered hat just yet. CNET reports that the two companies are in talks to offer full-length movies on YouTube via Sony’s video property Crackle; however, CNET speculates that the number probably won’t exceed 15 and no word on possible titles yet. At present, there are about 60 Sony films available on Crackle, including such titles as “Groundhog Day,” “Wild Things,” “El Mariachi,” “Ghostbusters,” “Idle Hands,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” “Rudy,” “The Karate Kid” (all three installments), and more. Sony could choose to make a portion of these public on YouTube, provided that YouTube uses the Crackle video player, which would allow Sony to retain control of the advertising. But the videos would have limited usage, as the studio does not allow its partners to syndicate its content. That means YouTube users wouldn’t be allowed to post their favorite videos into their blogs, Facebook pages, etc.

Still, YouTube needs to develop ways to monetize its services further to avoid losing money, even though online video sites are growing faster than ever. According to global financial services firm Credit Suisse, the company could lose as much as $470 million in 2009 due to inflated bandwidth and content licensing expenses. Recently, YouTube has struck deals with ESPN and Disney-ABC Television Group to try to drive advertiser demand. We’ll see if a Sony Pictures partnership could also help YouTube avoid landing in the red this year.

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