YouTube to Add 3,000 Movies for Rent9 May, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey
More than 3,000 additional films from three major studios will be available for rent on YouTube starting May 9, the Google-owned company announced, with some titles reportedly available day-and-date with DVD.
The addition of new-release and catalog titles from Universal, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures marks a major shift from user-generated content to Hollywood entertainment for the online video giant, and could present a serious challenge to Netflix and Apple’s iTunes. YouTube has been offering movies for rent since early 2010, but titles have been limited to catalog and independent fare.
New-release titles — including The King’s Speech, Due Date, Little Fockers, How Do You Know and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 — are available for $3.99 each, while catalog titles — including Goodfellas, Scarface and Taxi Driver —are available for $2.99. Renters have 24 hours to finish their rental, and 30 days to begin watching the film. Some older titles are available for free, supported by advertising.
“In addition to expanding our movie offerings, we’re also bolstering our investment in the content that’s already being viewed by hundred of millions of people on YouTube,” YouTube head Salar Kamangar wrote in a blog post. “By expanding our content partnerships worldwide and stimulating the success of budding filmmakers, artists and entrepreneurs, we’ll ensure that YouTube remains the best place for the world to see and discover rich talent.”
YouTube also announced that many of its film offerings would include YouTube Movie Extras, featuring behind-the-scenes videos, interviews, parodies and related videos from YouTube users.
For extras YouTube is turning to MakingOf, a bonus feature company founded by CEO Christine Aylward and actress Natalie Portman.
“MakingOf’s premium content provides users who want a close, authentic connection to movies exactly what they're looking for when exploring movies on YouTube,” said Camille Hearst, YouTube product marketing manager.
Movie pages also are supported by reviews from Rotten Tomatoes.