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YouTube gets 'Taxi Driver' from Sony's Crackle

October 9, 2009 |  9:45 am

TaxiDriverYou lookin' at YouTube?

Continuing its slow journey to add premium Hollywood content, YouTube has just posted its second major studio film to the site, the 1976 classic "Taxi Driver."

The film, when went on the Google-owned viral video site today and will be available for just a week, comes from Sony Pictures' Crackle video website, which also streamed "Ghostbusters" on YouTube for a week in August. Like that film, "Tax Driver" is playing under a number of limitations intended to benefit Sony: It steams in Crackle's own video player with prominent branding for the site and the video advertising is sold by the studio, which gets most of the revenue.

That hasn't stopped YouTube from spotlighting the film. Beyond featuring "Taxi Driver" on its heavily trafficked home page, YouTube promoted the movie with a series of clues on its Twitter feed yesterday and with a post on its blog.

The company is clearly hoping to convince both consumers and content owners that it's a viable outlet for premium content. Despite significant efforts to attract such content, YouTube has few television episodes and films from major studios. Advertisers have proven to be much more comfortable with Hollywood content than user-submitted videos.

Sony streams "Ghostbusters," "Taxi Driver" and more than 200 other films owned by the studio on Crackle. The partnership with YouTube seems intended primarily to promote Crackle to users of the much more popular Google-owned site.

-- Ben Fritz

Photo: Robert DeNiro in "Taxi Driver." Credit: Beitia Archives

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