YouTube to launch rental service

By Blake Ellis, contributing writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Google Inc.'s YouTube said Wednesday it plans to introduce a movie rental service on Friday.

The video-sharing site is partnering with the Sundance Film Festival to release five films, which users will be able to rent from YouTube on Friday, the company wrote in its blog.

The films -- "Bass Ackwards," "The Cove," "One Too Many Mornings," "Homewrecker" and "Children of Invention" -- were chosen from the 2010 and 2009 festivals, and they will be available for rental until Jan. 31.

On top of these five rentals, a selection of other videos will be offered in the coming weeks, and the company is on the hunt for additional independent filmmakers.

Google's (GOOG, Fortune 500) YouTube is also inviting a number of its partners to participate in the new rental service, allowing those it selects to keep their rights, decide where they want their content to be available, the price of their video and the rental duration.

"Anything that brings more content to the YouTube community is a good thing," the company wrote in its blog. "And making content available for rent will give our partners unprecedented control over the distribution of their work."

The company's decision to launch a film rental service was a natural progression for YouTube, Allen Weiner, an analyst at IT research firm Gartner in Scottsdale, Ariz., said in a blog post.

And Weiner said that in time, YouTube will offer much more than a basic online rental service and may begin distributing the rentals to mobile platforms and OTT TV platforms including Apple TV, Boxee, Wii and PS3.

The fate of YouTube is in Google's hands, and "Google's media strategy is geared to take dead aim at Apple," said Weiner.

"Both companies (along, perhaps with Amazon) will likely become the future archetypes for successful media titans with an emphasis on friction-free, content agnostic, multiplatform monetization," he said. "At this point, it's an interesting blueprint; the devil will be in the details." To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,041.54 -190.48 -1.04%
Nasdaq 5,032.75 -56.61 -1.11%
S&P 500 2,104.20 -21.86 -1.03%
Treasuries 2.14 -0.08 -3.52%
Data as of 10:18pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.50 -0.25 -1.49%
Apple Inc 129.62 -2.92 -2.20%
General Electric Co 27.52 -0.16 -0.58%
AT&T Inc 34.67 -0.04 -0.12%
Time Warner Cable In... 183.60 12.42 7.26%
Data as of 4:02pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

The day after comedian Amy Schumer appeared on ABC's "The Bachelorette," there is chatter about her becoming the show's next star. More

Unemployment is at its lowest level since 2007, but some companies are still cutting lots of jobs. More

Hong Kong's week-long Bun Festival means booming business for local bakery Kwok Kam Kee, which has produced the holiday's delicious highlight for decades. More