| BEVERLY HILLS, California
BEVERLY HILLS, California In a move that
signals a possible thawing of Google Inc's (GOOG.O) relations
with Hollywood, its YouTube unit has reached a deal to feature
film clips from Lions Gate Entertainment Inc LGF.N on the
Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt announced the deal at
an Ad Age/William Morris Agency conference on Wednesday and
said it would give viewers access to scenes from their favorite
Lions Gate movies, accompanied with ads.
Lions Gate later confirmed the deal.
"There are things in our library like 'Dirty Dancing' that
have been watched tens of millions of times and it will be nice
to get paid for that and to set viewers in the direction of
buying movies," Lions Gate Vice Chairman Michael Burns said in
a phone interview.
Lions Gate, also home to the popular "Saw" horror movies
and Oscar winner "Crash," would appear to be taking more of an
"if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach towards YouTube.
This is in sharp contrast to media giant Viacom Inc
VIAb.N, owner of Paramount and MTV Networks, which has sued
Google and YouTube for $1 billion, accusing them of copyright
infringement by enabling unauthorized viewing of its shows like
"The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report."
"Lions Gate is the next interesting example of (a company)
trying to get the people who are fans on the Internet and
monetize it," Schmidt told reporters.
Burns described the arrangement as a revenue-sharing deal.
"We'll have advertising around the clips and a link for
electronic sell-through," he said
Jordan Hoffner, director of content partnerships for
Google, also at the advertising conference, said the new
Lionsgate-branded channel would launch in the near future.
Both Schmidt and Hoffner said their company was talking to
other Hollywood studios about striking similar arrangements.
While they would not say which studios were in its sights,
Schmidt made it clear Google was not talking with Viacom.
Google and Viacom this week reached a deal to protect the
privacy of millions of YouTube watchers during evidence
discovery in the copyright infringement case after a federal
judge this month ordered Google to turn over YouTube user data
Google said it agreed to provide plaintiffs' attorneys for
Viacom a massive viewership database that blanks out YouTube
username and Internet address data that could be used to
identify individual video watchers.