Clip strategy links Lionsgate, YouTube

Studio sets up branded channel on the Web video service

Lionsgate has set up shop on YouTube.

The studio quietly introduced a new branded channel on the popular video site this week, with dozens of clips from its library linked to DVD and download-to-own film opportunities. The site is an outgrowth of an ad revenue deal signed by Lionsgate and Google in July.

"The idea behind this ultimately is to use it as an area to promote the purchase of the packaged version of that digital product," said Curt Marvis, president of digital media at Lionsgate.

As many as six multi-minute clips from individual Lionsgate films including "3:10 to Yuma," "Good Luck Chuck," "Cooler" and "Akeelah and the Bee" are aggregated at the Lionsgate Shop Channel. A banner on the page leads to Lionsgateshop.com, where the films highlighted in the clips are available for purchase. That e-commerce site, which has been up since January, could see a significant traffic boost with YouTube.

Lionsgate Shop is the most aggressive move a studio has made to monetize YouTube beyond advertising on the site or posting film trailers.

The channel is still a work in progress. Each individual video player page carrying Lionsgate video eventually will carry a link leading to a relevant purchase opportunity at Lionsgateshop.com.

"This is a propeller airplane version of this service," Marvis said. "We're hoping to get it to supersonic jet phase in the next six months with more clips and a more engaging experience."

Marvis indicated that he also is in talks with other online video hubs about creating similar arrangements with Lionsgate.

Still to be determined is whether Lionsgate will utilize Google's content identification tool, which would allow it to advertise on Lionsgate-owned videos that are illegally uploaded on YouTube. Marvis also did not rule out the possibility that full-length Lionsgate titles could eventually be accessed directly on YouTube.

Lionsgate still maintains a separate channel on YouTube to promote upcoming films.
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