Univision’s agreement with Google to bring television content to YouTube may not seem all that important on the surface, but in reality, this is actually a pretty big deal for everyone who watches TV online.
Univision will host current, full-length programming on YouTube — something mainstream networks such as CBS and NBC don’t do. That means you’ll get shows like “El Gordo Y La Flaca” and “Despierta America.” In a statement, YouTube called the deal one of the site’s “most comprehensive partnerships for full-length content to date.”
Other networks tend to load up YouTube with their leftovers and scraps. Check out CBS’ YouTube section, for instance, and you’ll find mostly excepts of new shows, plus an archive of classic shows such as Star Trek and MacGyver. If you’re looking for full episodes of new programming, YouTube is not the venue. You’ll have to visit Hulu for that.
Univision’s deal with YouTube is non-exclusive, reports TechCrunch, which means that the network could also take its content to Hulu, or to any other online portal that wants it without exclusivity. Essentially, Univision could make its content ubiquitous, while American networks seem happy to keep their shows behind very specific gates. That was exemplified in February when Hulu pulled its content from TV.com.
Univision’s arrangement isn’t flawless. The Los Angeles Times notes that the network’s popular telenovelas won’t be part of the package, but that’s due to disagreements with the shows’ producer, Grupo Televisa.
To make money, Univision will collect money on advertising, and will use YouTube’s ContentID technology to track and monetize Univision content that’s uploaded by users. I hope it works out for Univision, and that American networks will realize that putting new, full episodes on YouTube isn’t the end of the world.