YouTube readies launch of on-demand film streaming

In competition with Apple's iTunes, YouTube is set to kick off a video-on-demand (VOD) service, streaming films for viewers to rent, reports Hollywood blog TheWrap.

With 130 million monthly users, YouTube, the world's largest video sharing site and owned by Google, is expected to announce the start of a new VOD service that could be up and running within the next two weeks.

Film studios including Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Universal have licensed films to YouTube, as well as independent studios such as Lionsgate.

Paramount, Fox and Disney have not made arrangements to make their films available.

Hollywood is looking to stream films as a means of replacing the decrease in home entertainment revenues.
"We think it will start with VOD, but broaden to include sell-through over time," said a film executive. "We are happy to see new entrants come in transactionally rather than a subscription model," he added, referring to Netflix, the largest subscription-based film rental service.

YouTube's streaming will be the biggest film VOD service since Apple's iTunes film rentals - which start as low as $2.99 per film - began in 2008. What YouTube will charge has not been released yet.

Movies will be streamed on YouTube as soon as they are available on DVD.

Another online streaming venture recently began between Warner Bros. on Facebook, with blockbuster movies like Inception and Harry Potter available via the social network in exchange for Facebook credits.

RC

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