YouTube Lands Five’s Shows, A Win For Its VOD Ambition

YouTube UK is now adding long-form shows from Five to those it acquired in October from Channel 4, giving it a big advantage as it ramps up its new Shows section.

Five is retaining, within a YouTube channel, “DemandFive“, the name for its VOD strand, which recently got a new lick of paint and dropped many of the charges it had for so long.

The deal, which is non-exclusive, is for more than 3,000 hours of free full shows and clips, about the same volume as the C4 deal, including The Gadget Show, Home and Away and The Hotel Inspector, including 250 hours of archive shows.

This is a good deal for Five, which has not known how best to exploit its VOD. Strategy head Kieron Clifton last year said: “At the moment, we are losing money with the service and, effectively, the more popular it is, the more money we lose, whatever we do with advertising.” Now Five gets the benefit of YouTube hosting, much wider reach and pre- and mid-roll video ads it can sell on the videos. But it covers only Five’s “original” shows, so no FlashForward.

And the deal is sweet, too, for YouTube. An arms race is breaking out for UK TV content amongst VOD operators – but Hulu still has nothing, SeeSaw has only a smidgen of BBCWW shows, BBC has been barred from sharing iPlayer and MSN is quietly winning producers rather than networks…

The addition of a second network, on top of C4, could be a significant advantage for YouTube, which now has shows from half of the UK’s main public-service broadcasters.

What now stands in the way of YouTube becoming the default TV VOD destination? The BBC is quite likely to offer its iPlayer brand through YouTube since it believes in proliferation through multiple platforms. ITV’s outgoing exec chair Michael Grade said in October: “I guarantee an American company will take the lion