By SARAH MCBRIDE and JESSICA E. VASCELLARO
Google Inc.'s video-sharing site YouTube is expected to announce on Thursday a new area of the site to distribute premium shows and movies along with some new full-length content, according to people familiar with the matter.
A spokesman for YouTube, which already offers a very limited number of full-length shows and movies, declined to comment.
The move is designed to help YouTube better highlight its growing catalog of full-length shows while keeping its focus on user- generated clips, said one person familiar with the matter.
The move is also a big step for studios, which in the past have limited their content to tightly controlled sites, such as iTunes or CinemaNow, where consumers could purchase movies and other studio content. They have gradually evolved to making content available free on a number of studio-run Web sites such as Hulu along with making it available through agreements with dozens of independent sites.