YouTube Piggybacks BlinkBox, Others To Kick Off UK Movie Ambitions

When YouTube launched a US TV section in April 2009, with shows from CBS (NYSE: CBS), it came along with a Movies section, with flicks from MGM and Lionsgate.

In the same way, the video site is now adding a UK movies section to the UK TV section it opened in November.

But, just as the UK TV section launched without any top-tier content from main broadcasters, the films addition is just a starter. It includes 400 flicks of lower interest, from Crackle, AmPopFilms, Saavn LLC, Centilian, Craze Productions and IndieFlix, including 165 fed from the repertoire of video aggregator and advertising provider BlinkBox.

YouTube’s calling them “cult classics” – like Bollywood’s Aap Ki Khatir, Jacky Chan’s Wheels On Meals and Metropolis. A couple are racy, and even show full-frontal nudity (not safe for work).

It’s hardly fare to worry video rental outfits like Lovefilm, or even BlinkBox itself, which has a fuller, more recent repertoire available to rent.

But that’s not the point. In the same way that the launch of YouTube’s TV section with mostly existing, semi-pro material provided the platform YouTube needed to win deals for Channel 4’s 4oD, Five’s Demand Five and STV’s STV Player, YouTube is putting its movie intentions in the shop window and hoping to win more substantial deals in future.

This, it seems, is the hallmark of YouTube’s strategy to augment its core skateboarding-dog material with reams of professional video – a steady build-up rather than a big bang…

“This is one of many efforts to ensure that people can find all the different kinds of video they want to see, from bedroom vlogs and citizen journalism reports to full-length films and TV shows,” YouTube’s UK, Ireland and Benelux video partnerships head Donagh O