What began as YouTube's quest to get the country's top leading programming acronyms on board -- NBC, CBS, ABC, etc. -- is now a battle to land other content-rich acronyms like BBC and NBA.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) isn't backpedaling. Signing content distribution deals with the British Broadcasting Corporation today and the National Basketball Association earlier this week is a step forward.

BBC has been uploading clips to YouTube since last month, but this new agreement will find BBC offering three different channels. News, show clips, and BBC classics will populate the different channels.

The overseas videos will feel right at home in what has truly become a global video-sharing site. Latin American soccer clips and Japanese anime are often among the most viewed uploads of the day.

Even though CBS (NYSE:CBS) remains the third-most-subscribed channel on the site, YouTube's relationship with CBS sibling Viacom (NYSE:VIA) hasn't gone off so smoothly.

Debate remains lively regarding whether YouTube or the content provider is getting the most out of the site. I can respect the common network gripe that intellectual property rights are being trampled, but it's clear who's playing whom the actual network's doing the uploading.

Most of the major broadcasters uploading content to YouTube are submitting short promotional clips. They're typically tasty on their own, but usually part of a larger plan to get the viewer to flip on the tube to catch the entire show the following week. In that sense, walking away from YouTube is the equivalent of heaving a Molotov cocktail at your own billboards.

This may all be moot once Google's site incorporates effective copyright identification software into its system. Clearly, the community isn't doing a very good job of policing itself when it comes to unauthorized uploads. A cleaner YouTube would make it easier for the broadcasting heavies to control the content flow.

Until that day arrives, deals like this week's wins with the BBC and the NBA will have to satisfy video fans' appetite. And don't make the mistake of calling these insignificant deals. Clearly, they add texture to the growing fabric that is YouTube.

Smaller video-sharing sites run by Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), News Corp. (NYSE:NWS), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) had better not discount YouTube's appetizer feast. Instead, they'd better get busy securing exclusive content if they don't want to be left even further behind.

There's more to the viral video life than bangers and mashups, and these rivals can't afford to let Google run away with the tray of cucumber sandwiches and petit fours.

Here are some other recent eye-opening developments at YouTube:

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a "clip culture" fashion victim. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.