YouTube’s Final Frontier

by Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

With the mess with the Viacom lawsuit and allegations of encouraging piracy looming, YouTube has seemingly been working to shrug off this reputation and legitimize itself as a forum for legal, freely available user-generated content as well as legally licensed media content. The latest step towards this is the availability of full-length television shows, supported by advertising.

If that sounds familiar, I’d even go so far as to say that YouTube’s new “theater view” looks a lot like the viewing format at Hulu.com. Not that Hulu has the monopoly on ad-supported full-length TV shows–and in my opinion, the more the merrier. After all, they’re not showing the same shows as of right now, and in my opinion, the more freely-available content out there, the better.

YouTube suggests that there will be more TV shows to come, but right now the content is coming from someone they already had a partnership with, CBS (their official clips from Letterman are often some of the most-viewed on YouTube). This happens to include… original Star Trek! Right now there are only five episodes, but included is “The Naked Time,” one of my personal favorites, as well as the much-praised “City on the Edge of Forever.” Other TV shows already running are MacGyver and Beverly Hills 90210.

I hope this takes off and encourages content-providers to put even more full-length shows online. Now if only so many of these sites weren’t US or US/Canada-only! These shows deserve to boldly go to anyone who wants to watch them.

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