Back in April we learned that YouTube was close to striking a deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures, and Warner Brothers to rent moved through its website. Today, the Google-owned company announced that a deal has been reached.
In the announcement YouTube confirmed that it will be adding 3,000 movie titles that will be available for rent on demand for U.S. users, putting in direct competition with Netflix, Amazon, and Apple's iTunes. YouTube has had movies available for streaming (with ads) for over a year. Rentals will cost $2.99 for old flicks, while new releases will cost $3.99.
YouTube today also announced plans to bolster its YouTube Next and YouTubeNextUp platforms which helps content creators get their work produced and published on the site.
The goal for YouTube is, of course, to increase viewership. But more than that, the company wants people to view the site as more than a place to watch 90-second viral videos.
"…You're spending just 15 minutes a day on YouTube, and spending five hours a day watching TV," wrote YouTube head, Salar Kamangar. "As the lines between online and offline continue to blur, we think that's going to change."
YouTube says the new movies will begin to be added to youtube.com/movies later today and will be rolled out over the course of a few weeks.
"Today, we’re announcing another step in our goal to bring more of the video you love to YouTube: the addition of thousands of full-length feature films from major Hollywood studios available to rent in the US at youtube.com/movies. In addition to the hundreds of free movies available on the site since 2009, you will be able to find and rent some of your favorite films. From memorable hits and cult classics like Caddyshack, Goodfellas, Scarface, and Taxi Driver to blockbuster new releases like Inception, The King’s Speech, Little Fockers, The Green Hornet and Despicable Me. Movies are available to rent at industry standard pricing, and can be watched with your YouTube account on any computer. The new titles will begin appearing later today and over the coming weeks to www.youtube.com/movies, so keep checking back."