YouTube to offer movie rentals for $4?

By on September 3, 2009, 5:11 AM
Still trying to turn lucrative, YouTube is reportedly working on a movie rental service. The online video sharing site has been almost entirely reliant on user-submitted content, but it is in talks with various film studios about securing licenses to host motion pictures. Among the names in the discussion are Sony Pictures, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., and Warner Bros. Studios.

Speculation has it that while some movies will be viewable for free on an ad-supported basis, others will cost $4 to rent. This shouldn't come as a surprise as YouTube has been working to catalog more premium content. Turning to feature films may bring Google a welcomed profit, having failed thus far to earn a buck off their $1.65 billion investment.

I get the feeling that many people will condemn the thought of YouTube offering paid content. With a slogan like "Broadcast Yourself," it's easy to call YouTube a sellout and think that it's becoming a little less about you, and a little more about pushing mainstream media. I ask you, though, if the current system remains unaffected, is there really a problem?




User Comments: 7

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Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Offering new, timely movies for rent could be a great idea for YouTube, but $4 is way too much if they want to make any money. They are competing with RedBox (where you can rent a movie for $1) and Netflix (unlimited online movies with even their basic services) to name a few, where the costs are much lower. Charging that much, when compared to the competition, would guarantee they never get off the ground with it.

Oh, and if the movies use the same lame and sporadic buffering system that YouTube uses now, many will be passing. No problem if a few minute clip lags or needs to buffer, but I don't want pauses and stutters in the middle of my 2 hour flick.

Guest said:

"Offering new, timely movies for rent could be a great idea for YouTube, but $4 is way too much if they want to make any money. They are competing with RedBox (where you can rent a movie for $1) and Netflix (unlimited online movies with even their basic services) to name a few, where the costs are much lower. Charging that much, when compared to the competition, would guarantee they never get off the ground with it.

Oh, and if the movies use the same lame and sporadic buffering system that YouTube uses now, many will be passing. No problem if a few minute clip lags or needs to buffer, but I don't want pauses and stutters in the middle of my 2 hour flick. "

My thoughts exactly.

MrAnderson said:

No there isn't a problem if the surrent system is not affected. However, I don't think internet streaming is on par with 4 dollar rentals. They might be better off with a subscription system that allows people to view a limited number of movies in a day, month etc. Also, I don't think ads should be removed, but you should be able to skip them. I understand Google needs to turn a profit, and I'm reasonable. The entire site is free. As long as paid viewing does not have those popuo ads it is all good. Front loaded ads and back loaded are cool as long as people can skip them. Also, if everything stays the same, the must not down play the user generated content at all.

Twister123 Twister123 said:

4 dollars is way to much , especially with the times were in now .

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I can rent movies on my ps3 or even ppv for $2.99 and I don't have to deal with all the ads. For $4, I could go to Blockbuster. The analyst that came up with 4 bucks is living in a fantasy world if they think it will be profitable.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

$1.00 Redbox FTW!

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I agree with pretty much everyone, $4 is too much. I don't think you can really compare redbox though, since you have to physically go get the movie, and return it, and a majority of their rentals are viewed on a stand alone dvd player connected to a TV rather than a computer.

So in the youtube rentals for $4 market segment you have some $0.99 rentals from iTunes and then $2.99-$3.99 for others depending on the release. Then you have netflix where for like $9 a month you can rent 1 movie at a time, and watch as many streaming ones as you want.

1-2 Movies a month, iTunes wins, but leaves out the linux guys.

3+ Movies a month, netflix wins.

For Youtube to compete here they are going to have to price themselves lower, and I doubt the MPAA wants that.

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