Once Google acquired YouTube, we all knew YouTube was going to grow and grow. We just didn’t know how much and in what direction. Frankly, we still probably don’t know. But today we get a glimpse into part of YouTube’s future, movies. That’s right; YouTube and Google Play are becoming a new platform for renting movies.
Google isn’t simply just going to be adding feature length movies to YouTube; this is an official move. Paramount Pictures has already signed an agreement bring almost 500 of their titles to YouTube and Google Play. They are just one of the studios to enter into the agreement. Five out of the six major film studios, plus ten independent studios, have already agreed to partner with YouTube and Google Play. This brings YouTube’s movie library up to about 9,000 titles. Films like Shrek, Transformers, and Footloose are already available for your viewing pleasure up on YouTube.
Film rentals will cost between $2.99 and $3.99 for the standard definition versions. If you want high definition, it will cost $1 more. From the time of purchase, viewers will have 30 days to begin watching a title. And once the movie has begun, it must be finished within either 24 or 48 hours depending on the title. There are no announcements about Google selling films, so as of now, they will only be renting them.
Since the acquisition of YouTube, everyone has wondered how it would be monetized. Would pay per click internet marketing ads or premium memberships take over? Well, movies may be one of the ways to solve this. This move not only creates revenue from rentals, but it opens up a venue for internet marketing. Instead of previews at the movie theaters, we will most likely begin seeing paid viral ads integrated somewhere into the experience.
This move throws Google into another competitive category with Apple and a new one with Netflix. All six of the major film studios have signed with Apple and Netflix already has a large following for online movie streaming. It will be a competitive niche Google is entering and will be interesting to see how it performs.
Consumers now have many options when they want to watch a movie. It will be interesting to see if YouTube’s pricing options can compete with Netflix, Apple, and even Redbox. But if you feel like watching a movie without leaving your seat, you can simply navigate to YouTube and easily select a title to watch.