YouTube has moved in to Hulu territory today with a new offering of movies and television programs from a variety of providers including CBS, Lions Gate, MGM, Disney, ESPN and others.
The new feature delivers on demand and free viewing via a new “shows” tab in the YouTube navigation bar. Users can pick a show via interest area or by content provider channel.
It sounds all very good in theory, excepted that the only way I could even write the last paragraph was by viewing YouTube through a proxy server, because the content is strictly georetarded. I’m not sure if this is United States only, or the United States and Canada, but either way it’s IP blocked outside North America. Setting YouTube to worldwide (which is the US setting) vs the Australian setting I constantly say I don’t want but YouTube keeps giving me still doesn’t show the content.
Am I particularly upset that I can’t see old episodes of the Charlie’s Angels TV series, or Alf? Well, no, not really, but it’s the principle of the matter. This is Google bending over backwards to further restrict content when much of Google’s success came off the back of its global offerings. I understand the difficulty with international rights holders with current run shows, but would it have really been that hard to negotiate a deal where everyone could see Alf, not exactly a show that’s getting a lot of airplay these days here in Australia.
The biggest winners out of this will always be the same: proxy/ VPN services, and BitTorrent trackers, because a georetarded release like this doesn’t stop people talking about what’s on offer, and those outside the United States will want to view videos that their US friends are talking about.