YouTube (s GOOG) is giving U.K. residents more reason to visit the online video site, with more than 400 movies added to its content library, the Guardian reports. YouTube’s Movies section in the U.K. will feature free, ad-supported movies as well as on-demand films through agreements with U.S. studios such as Sony Pictures (s SNE) and MGM, as well as U.K. video service Blinkbox.
The section reportedly includes a wide range of catalog content, documentaries and even Bollywood films. According to the Guardian, YouTube will make 165 movies from Blinkbox available for free in an ad-supported format, with Blinkbox taking a share of the ad revenue. Those titles typically rent for £1.99 ($3.07 USD)through Blinkbox’s online VOD service. YouTube will reportedly also add a rental option for certain on-demand movies in the new section.
The addition of film content in the U.K. — for free and for rental — follows more than 18 months of work that YouTube has done to make movies available on its U.S. site. YouTube first added a movie library in the U.S. in April of last year. After testing online rentals for some films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, YouTube rolled out a “Store” for all online rentals. However, the number of rentals generated by the available films and the YouTube store have been disappointing so far.
YouTube has long sought to add more premium content, which helps it attract advertisers and drive up CPMs. And so far, the strategy appears to be working; the site is expected to be profitable for the first time ever in 2010, on nearly $1 billion in revenues.
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