Video watch: YouTube, Viacom-owned Paramount now partners; 1M cord-cutters in 2011

• Hey, that’s entertainment! YouTube announced Wednesday that it will offer movie rentals from Paramount. What’s the big deal, besides adding to the online-video company’s growing film catalog? Paramount’s parent company is Viacom. Yes, that Viacom, which hit YouTube with a $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit in 2007 and eventually lost. The Associated Press says Viacom is still looking to appeal its loss. But in the meantime, the YouTube-Paramount partnership includes about 500 titles, boosting the total available films at the Google-owned company to 9,000. YouTube rents movies at $1.99 to $3.99 a title.

The seemingly strange deal is just the latest example that media conglomerates such as Viacom — which had accused YouTube of knowingly hosting copyrighted content uploaded by YouTube users — have realized that they have to work with popular vehicles for content, not just fight them. In February, Viacom struck a Web-streaming deal with, which also offers movies and TV shows for online viewing. (See Quoted: on media companies’ complicated online relationships.)

• Speaking of different vehicles for online entertainment, more than 1 million U.S. cable subscribers cut the cord in 2011, according to a report released by a Canadian research firm this week. From 2008 to 2011, about 2.65 million subscribers canceled their cable or satellite TV subscriptions to switch to online service providers such as Netflix, said the report by Convergence Consulting Group. Despite the obviously grave numbers for cable, though, Convergence founder Brahm Eiley told PaidContent: “The revolution is not coming, at least not for a very long time.” He says cable companies and other “multi-channel operators” continue to outspend companies such as Netflix and Apple when it comes to programming rights: In 2011, they spent $38.5 billion and $3 billion, respectively.


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