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Thursday, January 21, 2010

YouTube Enters Video Rental Arena

Beginning tomorrow, January 21st, 2010, you will be able to rent full-length movies from YouTube. At first, there will only be five movies available and only to US netizens. All of the movies come from the 2009 and 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Movie makers and distributors will be able to set their own price and YouTube takes a cut from that. All but one of the initial offerings rent for $3.99 - almost half of what a month's subscription to Netflix costs - and remain available for streaming for 48 hours. With such a model, YouTube could become the premiere video site for indie films, though it obviously wants to court larger studios and production companies. YouTube already offers full-length movies from MGM's archives.

While this obviously puts YouTube in competition with Netflix, the latter was not even mentioned by most articles on the topic; Hulu appears to be analysts' decision for YouTube streaming's arch-nemesis because of the fact that Hulu has already cemented so many deals of the type YouTube is looking to attract.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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