Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Time Warner Clips–But Not Shows–Land on YouTube

gossip-girlAnother feather for the “we’ve got real stuff” cap that YouTube is showing off these days: Google’s video site has hammered out a deal with Time Warner to show clips from the media conglomerate’s cable networks, TV shows and movies.

But you won’t be seeing full-length shows or movies from Time Warner (TWX) on the world’s biggest video site–it’s saving those for cable companies that play along with its “TV Everywhere” plan.

So: If you want to see bits of programming from networks like CNN and the Cartoon Network and shows like “Gossip Girl,” you can check them out on YouTube in coming months. But if you want to see the whole thing, you’re either going to have to watch them on your TV set or via Web experiments like the one Comcast (CMCSA) is trying out for its subscribers.

Nothing wrong with clips, by the way: There’s a lot of TV programming (in particular) that lends itself well to bite-sized sampling–Turner’s “Adult Swim,” for instance should be great (see below). But YouTube has been trying to get networks and studios to give up full-length stuff and hasn’t had a lot of luck, at least not compared to the offerings at Hulu.

YouTube’s Jordan Hoffner, who hammers out these deals, wouldn’t go into detail about them with me, but he confirmed that they follow the same rough template as deals his company has forged with Sony (SNE) and Disney (DIS): The content providers get to embed their own video player within YouTube and control ad sales.

Are there more pacts in the works? Sort of, Hoffner says: “We’ve gotten a lot of deals done. You look at the media landscape, and there are only a handful of companies left that we don’t have partnerships with.”

In the meantime here’s a grainy, unsanctioned clip that I hope makes it onto YouTube in a higher-def form once the deal kicks in: Indie rock gods Pavement performing on “Space Ghost” in 1997.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik