Google to rent movies through YouTube

John Letzing
MarketWatch (MCT)

SAN FRANCISCO — Google Inc., which has dabbled with different ways of turning YouTube into a serious money-maker since acquiring it in 2006, said Wednesday it will begin making a limited number of films available for rental through the video service.

Google said in a posting on a company Web site that it will make five films from the 2009 and 2010 Sundance Film festivals available for rent for U.S. users starting Jan. 22, and lasting through Jan. 31.

"In addition to these five films, a small collection of rental videos from other U.S. partners across different industries, including health and education, will be made available in the weeks ahead," Google said.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has experimented with a variety of advertising formats for YouTube over the years, though it said Wednesday that an advertising-based model doesn't make sense for everyone.

"While YouTube has offered an easy and economical way for filmmakers — as well as content creators of all kinds — to instantaneously connect with fans around the world, many of them have told us that the ad-supported business model doesn't always meet their distribution and monetization needs," Google said.

The company said it will invite "a small group of partners across other industries" to participate in its film-rental business in the coming weeks.

Google said the films will be available for rental through its Google Checkout payment service, though it did not disclose specific rental fees.

Google does not disclose the amount of revenue being made through YouTube, though the company has said recently that it anticipates that it will become profitable soon.

In a recent research note, Barclays Capital analyst Douglas Anmuth estimated that YouTube will become profitable sometime this year, and will generate roughly $700 million in revenue — which would mark a 55 percent gain from 2009.

If Google expands its movie-rental service, it could put it in direct competition with companies such as Netflix Inc., Inc. and Apple Inc.

While Netflix pioneered the model of mailing video rentals to subscribers' homes, it has also begun making many films available for viewing instantly over an Internet connection.

Amazon, too, offers instant rental over the Internet at $3.99 per 24 hours.

And Apple makes films available for rental through its iTunes store.





Director Denis Côté on Making Film, Fearlessly

In this interview with PopMatters, director Denis Côté recalls 2010's Curling (now on Blu-Ray) discusses film as a "creative experiment in time", and making films for an audience excited by the idea of filling in playful narrative gaps.


Learning to Take a Picture: An Interview With Inara George

Inara George is unafraid to explore life's more difficult and tender moments. Discussion of her latest music, The Youth of Angst, leads to stories of working with Van Dyke Parks and getting David Lee Roth's musical approval.


Country Westerns Bask in an Unparalleled Sound and Energy on Their Debut

Country Westerns are intent on rejecting assumptions about a band from Nashville while basking in an unparalleled sound and energy.


Rediscovering Japanese Director Tomu Uchida

A world-class filmmaker of diverse styles, we take a look at Tomu Uchida's very different Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji and The Mad Fox.


The Charlatans' 'Between 10th and 11th' Gets a Deluxe Edition

Not even a "deluxe" version of Between 10th and 11th from the Charlatans can quite set the record straight about the maligned-but-brilliant 1992 sophomore album.


'High Cotton' Is Culturally Astute and Progressive

Kristie Robin Johnson's collection of essays in High Cotton dismantle linear thinking with shrewdness and empathy.


Lianne La Havas Is Reborn After a Long Layoff

British soul artist Lianne La Havas rediscovers herself on her self-titled new album. It's a mesmerizing mix of spirituality and sensuality.


PC Nackt Deconstructs the Classics with 'Plunderphonia'

PC Nackt kicks off a unique series of recordings dedicated to creating new music by "plundering" unexpected historical sources such as classical piano pieces or chamber orchestra music.


Counterbalance 24: The Doors - 'The Doors'

Before you slip into unconsciousness, Counterbalance has put together a few thoughts on the Doors' 1967 debut album. It's number 24 on the Big List.

Reading Pandemics

Parable Pandemics: Octavia E. Butler and Racialized Labor

Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower, informed by a deep understanding of the intersectionality of dying ecologies, disease, and structural racism, exposes the ways capitalism's insatiable hunger for profit eclipses humanitarian responses to pandemics.


'Tiger King' and the Post-Truth Culture War

Tiger King -- released during and dominating the streaming-in-lockdown era -- exemplifies in real-time the feedback loop between entertainment and ideology.


GOD's 'God IV - Revelation' Is a Towering Feat of Theologically-Tinged Prog Metal (album stream)

GOD's God IV - Revelation is beautiful and brutal in equal measure. It's a masterful series of compositions. Hear it in full today before tomorrow's release.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.