YouTube to test movie rental service at Sundance

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The Independent Culture

YouTube announced Wednesday that it will begin testing an online movie rental service on Friday to kick off the Sundance Film Festival.

Five independent films from the 2009 and 2010 Sundance festivals will be part of a "small collection of rental videos" to be available to US users of the popular video-sharing website in "the weeks ahead," according to YouTube.

"Making content available for rent will give our partners unprecedented control over the distribution of their work - they can decide the price of their videos and the rental duration," YouTube said in a blog post.

"They can decide when and where their content is available; and they can keep 100 percent of their rights."

Sundance films available for rental from Friday through January 31 will include "Bass Ackwards" and "Children of Invention."

YouTube invited independent film makers to sign on to have their works offered for rent at the website.

The move represents another step for Google in generating revenue from YouTube, which it bought in 2006 in a deal valued at 1.65 billion dollars.

YouTube will also be stepping in as a potentially formidable contender in the growing market of online distribution of films that includes videogame consoles, Apple's iTunes shop, and US DVD rental giant Netflix.

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