is beginning to roll out a new movie rental service, albeit in a fairly small
fashion. Currently, YouTube is offering five titles from independent filmmakers.
The five titles will be available through the end of this year's Sundance Film
Although YouTube's new offering doesn't begin to compete
with other online rental services such as Netflix
which offers thousands
of films, YouTube plans to offer more movies at some point. Furthermore, the
move represents a significant shift for the online video site which has
traditionally thrived by offering free video clips and earning money primarily
from advertising revenue. YouTube also currently offers some older, full-length
movies for free on its site.
It's been reported that YouTube held discussions with major
movie studios such as Lionsgate Entertainment, Sony, and Warner Brothers last
summer in hopes of working on a rental service. YouTube has not confirmed the
talks with the studios or the test with Google employees which supposedly took
place in the fall.
The five independent titles that are available through
YouTube include The Cove
, Bass Ackwards
, One Too Many Mornings
and Children of Invention
said it plans to add additional content to the rental service soon including
educational, health, and fitness-related videos.
YouTube also plans to begin a program called “Filmmakers
Wanted” that will enable other independent producers to make their films
available on YouTube. The filmmakers will determine the rental price of the
movie and will keep the majority of the revenue collected.