YouTube Strikes Exclusive Content Deal With Verizon

Video-sharing phenom YouTube on Tuesday announced a content distribution deal with Verizon, the second-largest wireless carrier in the U.S.

The deal marks YouTube’s first strategic mobile distribution agreement and could signal a new trend for the Google-owned social networking Web site.

“YouTube has proven its viability and the interest consumers have in sharing video on the desktop. There’s no reason why YouTube’s popularity couldn’t be expanded to the mobile marketplace. I think this is good for Verizon and good for YouTube,” Inside Digital Media Senior Analyst Phil Leigh told TechNewsWorld.

Let ‘V’ Entertain You

In early December, YouTube’s video entertainment service will start broadcasting over mobile devices powered by Verizon Wireless. Consumers will need a V Cast-enabled handset, such as the Chocolate LG VX8500 and MOTOKRZR K1m, to share the viral videos.

Specifically, Verizon’s V Cast customers can access a selection of YouTube videos from their mobile phones. The companies said the deal was exclusive for a limited time, suggesting that YouTube may strike future deals with other wireless carriers.

“People want to be entertained in a way that fits their individual lifestyle. This service offers our community and Verizon Wireless subscribers a new opportunity to connect and engage with their favorite videos,” said Steve Chen, chief technology officer and cofounder of YouTube.

Lighting a Mobile Video Fire

YouTube will deliver a sampling of its most popular videos over V Cast in the U.S. — the entire catalog of YouTube content will not be available, at least for now.

YouTube could be skirting copyright infringement issues by offering clips that do not contain pirated music or video clips. No details were offered regarding what would qualify or disqualify a clip.

“This is groundbreaking for mobile video, just like YouTube was groundbreaking for PC video. Mobile video has been around but it hasn’t caught fire. This could make it catch fire,” Leigh noted.

A New Audience?

Verizon is billing the YouTube connection as a way to allow a newaudience to enjoy videos wirelessly.

Video enthusiasts will be able to record and share video moments. “The mobile aspect is more spontaneous,” Leigh said. “When you go out with your friends for lunch, they can share these videos over their cell phone without really encroaching on their work time. It’s a social setting. A PC may be a social setting in a dormitory, but at work it’s really not.”

V Cast Costs

A V Cast VPak subscription costs US$15 per month or $3 per day. The subscription includes the carrier’s unlimited basic video service; additional fees apply when subscribers download 3-D games and “premium video.” There are no airtime charges to stream or watch V Cast content.

V Cast also lets subscribers download music, ring tones, wallpaper, skins, games, news and other forms of digital media.

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