The company's television-show production arm will begin serving up abridged versions of some of its classic sitcoms on Google's
Minisodes will be available for free streaming on YouTube, with Sony taking a cut of the ad revenue.
The move is brilliant in many different ways. For starters, it addresses the short attention mindset of the YouTube visitor who has been conditioned to consume short clips instead of entire shows online. It's also a great way for Sony to milk incremental revenue off shows that have exhausted their original runs on the boob tube, especially at a time when new content is running dry, thanks to the Writers Guild of America strike. Finally, since YouTube is a global powerhouse, these Minisodes may open up classic shows to new audiences worldwide, and in the process, they could increase syndication of these shows or even boost DVD purchases from consumers who want the unabridged versions.
This whole idea is also a welcome reversal to the way television-production studios and broadcasters were approaching YouTube last year. A few big names, including CBS
If the Sony deal is a hit, other studios should be encouraged to follow suit. Ad-sharing prospects remain dim in the poorly monetized niche of video streaming, but with YouTube serving up about 2.5 billion views a month, it just doesn't make sense to ignore the site's potential as a marketing springboard.
The amateur filmmakers and webcam hobbyists may not appreciate getting bumped from YouTube's pedestal if professional content steals the spotlight, but if that's the vehicle that keeps YouTube's already massive audience growing, the show must go on.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is ready to officially classify himself as a clip-culture junkie. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story and 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.