YouTube 'plans streaming movie rental service'


TK Veteran
YouTube is in talks with the major film studios about streaming movie rentals in the US, according to reports.

The Google-owned video site is understood to be in discussions with Sony, Lions Gate and Warner Bros about a potential deal, which would offer users the chance to stream movies for a rental fee of $3.99 (€2.78). The service would be restricted to the US initially.

Negotiations are still ongoing, according to The Wall St Journal, with no guarantees that a deal will be struck.

The strategy change is being seen as a test by the video giant to see if users can be persuaded to pay for premium content.

YouTube has yet to turn a profit but is in talks around the world with rights holders to try to increase the amount of full-length content available officially on the site.

A move to pay-per-view content, with a mixture of free ad-supported material, is a strategy most video services are exploring with a view to monetising long-form content online.

In the UK, Blinkbox offers a similar service, with a mixture of free ad-supported content and premium content paid-for content from movie studios and broadcasters.

News of YouTube’s talks with the film companies, has emerged on the same day tens of thousands of music videos return to the site in the UK, after its lengthy discussions with the Performing Rights Society for Music (PRS) resulted in a three-year licensing deal.

The proposed pricing of the movie rental fee is understood to have been based on the amount Apple’s iTunes charges for new movie rentals.

A YouTube spokesman told The Wall Street Journal: “Negotiations are continuing and there are no guarantees a deal will be struck.”