YouTube, the video sharing web site owned by Google, has started to offer full-length television shows from the CBS archive in a bid to boost advertising revenues. Programmes will be limited to a few shows, already available on the CBS web site, including old episodes of Star Trek and Beverly Hills 902010, accessible only within the United States. YouTube says it is talking to other networks to offer their programmes online.

YouTube has added a ‘theater view’ player for long form programming, which dims the rest of the web page around the video window. Until now, most material on YouTube has consisted of short clips, although it has included full-length shows from the CBS Showtime cable network.

CBS will sell advertising around the shows and share the revenue with YouTube. These will include pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll adverts.

YouTube has so far failed to establish a successful business model for the site, despite attracting hundreds of millions of users a month.

Analysts expect YouTube to earn round $200 million in revenue next year, compared to anticipated earnings for Google of $27 billion.

YouTube is countering competition from sites like Hulu, the joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp, which has found some success in offering full-length programmes online. Hulu delivered just under 120 million video streams in July, according to Comscore, while YouTube delivered over five billion, which was 44% of all online videos.

Hulu does not currently have a deal with CBS, which was unwilling to share advertising revenue with the NBC and Fox. Programmes are currently only available on Hulu within the United States. There are plans to offer international versions of its service in the future through joint venture partnerships.