Rumor has it that YouTube could be launching an on demand movie service as early as this week, giving users the opportunity to stream their favorite Hollywood movies for a fee.
According to Sharon Waxman from TheWrap, “Major studios including Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Brothers and Universal have licensed their movies for the new service, as have numerous independent studios, including Lionsgate and the library-rich Kino Lorber, according to movie executives with knowledge of the deals in place.” Of course, the pay-to-view model itself isn’t new to YouTube. They have already been offering movie rentals for more than a year. However, the fact that they’ve got these new studios on board signals a major leap forward for the YouTube movie on demand service, which has only offered older movies and smaller titles to this point.
A YouTube spokeswoman told TheWrap, “We’ve steadily been adding more and more titles since launching movies for rent on YouTube over a year ago, and now have thousands of titles available. Outside of that, we don’t comment on rumor or speculation.”
However, Hollywood studios aren’t afraid to comment on rumor or speculation, apparently. A senior executive at one of the Hollywood studios that recently struck a deal with YouTube says, on the partnership, “We think it will start with VOD, but broaden to sell-through over time. We are pretty excited because we are happy to see new entrants come in transactionally rather than a subscription model.”
YouTube’s movie rental service differs from other streaming services, like Hulu Plus and Netflix, which offer a monthly fee for viewers. It is closer to the iTunes model, where users pay for individual movies. Therefore, if YouTube manages to sign deals with enough studios and offer competitive prices it could mean major, major competition for Apple’s iTunes rental service, which has dominated online movie rentals to this point.
Of course, YouTube movie rentals would also mean competition for Netflix and other subscription streaming services, as movies would be available for rent on YouTube earlier than they would be available via services like Netflix. However, as of now the prospect of YouTube drastically growing its on demand movie service as soon as this week is purely speculation, until YouTube confirms. Do you think we’ll be seeing a boost in YouTube movie rentals in the coming days or weeks? What effect will it have on the industry? Scroll down and let us know what you think in the comments. And keep an eye out for additions to YouTube’s movie rental library in YouTube’s Store, where you can currently rent movies like Scary Movie 4 for $2.00 or Spy School for $3.99.
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.