YouTube to launch paid movie rentals service

Google has announced that YouTube will make popular movies from the Sundance Film Festival available for rental through its website starting January 22 until the end of the month for $3.99 each movie accessible for 48-hours. Movies include “Homewrecker”, “One Too Many Mornings”, among other popular films.

This marks the first time YouTube offering paid movie rentals. Google plans to expand the program, making more movies available, especially from smaller scale filmmakers.

Google says film owners can choose the price and availability of each film rental. A portion of total sales generated would then be shared with YouTube.

Google acquired YouTube in 2006, and although Google does not disclose revenues generated by YouTube for competitive reasons, the company says it expects YouTube to become profitable soon.

The movie rentals come as contributors earned less from the slumping online advertising revenue as companies spend less thereby making keywords less valuable.

Although not confirmed now, Google could expand the program with an application on other popular entertainment platforms such as Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console and Sony’s PlayStation 3 gaming console to offer movie rentals to consumers. More consumers would likely rent the films through their home entertainment systems simply because they could watch the movies directly on their television in HD.

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Murad is an engineering graduate from Centennial college in Toronto, Canada. Write to
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