YouTube, MLB Deal Streams Video On Demand To Japanese Fans

YouTube and MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), the interactive media and Internet arm of Major League Baseball, announced a partnership Monday to offer baseball fans in Japan a way to follow the game.

Fans in Japan will have an option to watch full-length MLB games on-demand, along with multiple highlight reels of every game from the 2009 and the 2010 seasons on MLB.JP's YouTube Channel. The ad-supported videos allow fans to watch free of charge, and games from the current season run within 36 hours of completion.

The channel also will support the library's best moments, short-form video such as Condensed Games, game replays, and FastCast, a quick recap of every game played on a given day.

The emergence of viewing options outside carrier networks and third-party TV services spells opportunity for ad-supported video. Of these three primary revenue streams, the ad-supported component will become the fastest-growing. eMarketer estimates that ad-supported mobile video revenues will reach a 60% CAGR between 2009 and 2014.

The eMarketer report, scheduled for release this week, points to a staggering statistic. In July 2010, Google announced that it served 100 million videos daily on its mobile site and in apps. Like many of Google's HTML5-based mobile sites, the relaunched YouTube mobile now provides a distinctly app-like experience through the browser. Google and YouTube have begun to emphasize mobile, according to Noah Elkin, eMarketer senior analyst.

One of those deals revolves around the MLB and mobile video content. Elkin explains in the report -- Mobile Content: Games, Music and Video Take to the Cloud -- scheduled for release this week, that Major League Baseball built live-game online streaming into a $40 million business in 2009, and sales of its live-streaming MLB At Bat app for the iPhone also proved popular. Sales of the $9.99 app topped the $1 million mark early in the season. MLB At Bat returned for the 2010 baseball season with additional enhancements, including availability on the iPad, at a cost of $14.99.

YouTube's MLB Japan deal represents the largest partnership for premium sports content in YouTube history and might provide insight into negotiations between Google's video site and Hollywood's movie studios to launch a global pay-per-view video service by the end of 2010. The ongoing talks were reported Monday by the Financial Times.

Google will use its search technology and YouTube to direct viewers to the new service, according to reports. Negotiations have been ongoing for several months, but intense competition between media and technology companies over the digital delivery of film and TV programming sparked interest. This week, Apple is also expected to unveil improvements to its TV device.

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