Page last updated at 10:26 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 11:26 UK

YouTube to stream Hollywood films

Casino Royale
Ursula Andress and Peter Sellers starred in Casino Royale

Hollywood films like Cliffhanger and the 1967 version of Casino Royale are available on YouTube after the company announced a partnership with Sony.

Better known for music videos and cute kittens, YouTube wants to expand its library of movies and TV shows.

Deals have also been struck with the likes of MGM, Lions Gate, Discovery Communications and National Geographic.

Launch titles are largely older fare, such as 1980s cop show TJ Hooker, and the service is currently US-only.

"We look forward to expanding to other regions as soon as possible," wrote Shiva Rajamaran on the company's blog.

Rights issues mean that international availability will be decided by TV and film companies, rather than YouTube, on a case-by-case basis.

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Full-length clips have been available on the video streaming site for some time, but with the company promising "thousands of television episodes and hundreds of movies", it has introduced easier ways of finding them.

Users can visit youtube.com/movies and youtube.com/shows to find professional content, instead of relying on the site's occasionally erratic search box.

YouTube also confirmed it was developing a new advertising model, which allows programme-makers to place commercials into the ad breaks of television shows being watched online.

The number of US users watching videos on YouTube topped 100 million for the first time in January, according to research firm comScore.

However, the company is increasingly facing competition from the likes of Hulu and traditional media companies, like NBC and the BBC, who have started streaming programmes from their own sites.



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