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YouTube Bows Movie Rental Service in the U.K.

10 Oct, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Transactional VOD service offers new releases and sets the stage for streaming follow-up to rival Amazon's LoveFilm unit

YouTube quietly has expanded its transactional video-on-demand movie rental platform (www.youtube.com/movies) beyond the United States and Canada into the United Kingdom.

Google-owned YouTube now offers new-release movies such as Scream 4, Fast Five, Never Back Down 2: The Beat Down and Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family, among others, for $3.99 for 48-hour windows. Catalog titles are available from $2.99 each.

The expansion represents increased competition for Amazon's LoveFilm subsidiary, which is the largest by-mail, transactional VOD and streaming movie service in the United Kingdom and Western Europe. 

Movie selections include menu pulldowns outlining plot, director, actor identifications and Rotten Tomatoes ratings on select titles. Rotten Tomatoes is owned by Flickster.com, which recently was acquired by Warner Bros.

YouTube launched its transactional VOD platform in early 2010 with select Sundance movies for $4.99 — a launch that was noted more for consumer indifference than anything. That inauspicious start was followed last April by rollout in the United States and Canada of expanded title selections from major studios.

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