YouTube Goes to Hollywood

Google's video streaming site is talking to Hollywood bigwigs about streaming recent movies online

By Marie C. Baca
|  Thursday, Sep 3, 2009  |  Updated 10:19 AM CDT
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Will YouTube stream Hollywood movies for a rental fee?

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Piano playing cats and booty dancers could soon have some stiff competition.

YouTube is in talks with Hollywood movie studios to stream films on a rental basis, reported the Wall Street Journal.

The video arm of Google is discussing the proposition with studios like Lion's Gate Entertainment and Warner Bros. It appears that in most cases the movies would be available on a rental basis, although some might appear on the site for free.

If it comes to fruition, the move would represent a fundemental shift in YouTube's business model, which currently provides video content for free with advertising. YouTube is not yet a profitable company.

The Journal's source said that under the deal being discussed, some movies might be available on YouTube the day they are released on DVD.

There is speculation that the movies would cost around four dollars each to rent, the same price iTunes charges to rent recently released films.

Other sources said that 10,000 Google employees are schedule to test the movie rental service for three months before it is offered to the public. An earlier trial date was delayed due to studio negotiations, according to the Journal.

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