CBS Networks has started adding past episodes from such popular TV series such as Star Trek (1966-1969), MacGuyver (1985-1992), Beverly Hills 90210 (1990-2000), and The Young and the Restless (1973 to present) on Google‘s YouTube web site.
There are currently 5 episodes from each series, and 13 episodes for The Young and the Restless. The site is carrying the full length episodes with a 15 second ad before each epidoe, and another ad spot in the middle of the epsiode, and another at the end of each episode.
Google has been trying to patch things up with content owners (networks, etc) due to the constant unauthorized uploading of copyrighted material by fans to the YouTube site. Many of the fan uploads were of poor picture and sound quality. The involvement of CBS should reduce unauthorized uploads of their content while providing superior sound and picture. It also creates a new revenue stream for the network and Google by selling ad space on re-runs of old episodes.
I’m wondering if any royalties will be paid to the actors on these programs. Certain airing agreements entitle actors to residual income from re-runs and syndicated programming after the series has ended production. The growth in online broadcasting has been a sticking point with the professional acting unions such as SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists). (See the July 27, 2008 New York Times article “Board of Screen Actors Guild Backs Negotiators’ Internet Demands“).
The episode pages will differ from the standard YouTube pages, which usually feature a filmstrip icon and the ability to add tags or labels of your own to the video clips.
YouTube has also added a “Theater View” option whcih presents an enlarged views of the video (and the ads) while hiding all other content on the page.
There is also a “lights out” mode, which will keeps the standard YouTube interface with a darker screen thereby putting more emphasis on the video. It may also be useful for viewers who like to watch their videos in a darkened room.
Go the the CBS Playlists on YouTube to view the episodes.