The Google-owned video hub also announced a redesign of its Web site, creating separate new sections for professional content. The revamp will add two new tabs on the YouTube front page. A "Shows" tab allows users to search shows by title, genre, popularity and other categories, while a "Subscriptions" tab will provide quick access to fresh content from logged-in users.
Bloomberg last week confirmed that Sony was in talks with YouTube about the film deal. The company is expected to unveil agreements with other entertainment companies on Thursday as well. The news follows recent efforts by YouTube to shift toward more advertising-friendly professional content in order to ramp up revenue. The company wants to contend with Hulu, the fast-growing video site launched by News Corp. and NBC Universal that focuses on professional content.
Last week, it announced plans to launch a new music video property called VEVO in partnership with Universal Music Group. And since last fall, the company has signed a series of deals with entertainment studios, most recently with Disney for clips from ABC and ESPN shows. A $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit brought by Viacom against YouTube two years ago is pending.
During Google's earning conference call Thursday, CEO Eric Schmidt suggested YouTube may eventually charge fees to supplement ad revenue.