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YouTube To Allow Video Rentals 215

poopdeville writes "Starting Friday, Google and YouTube will allow movie rentals. The first five films available to rent through YouTube will cost $3.99 for a 48-hour viewing period. Movie studios will be able to set their own prices, with rental viewing windows ranging from one to 90 days. YouTube will get an unspecified commission from each rental. Barclays Capital analyst Douglas Anmuch expects YouTube to generate about $700 million in revenue this year, an estimated 55 percent increase from 2009. If YouTube hits that target, it likely will turn profitable, helping to justify the $1.76 billion in stock that Google paid for the site more than three years ago."
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YouTube To Allow Video Rentals

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  • Indie films. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cheney ( 1547621 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @06:36AM (#30844050)
    I hope that this will be a useful distribution and money-maker for Indie films.

    Hopefully, it won't be stifled by the big studios.
  • No thanks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BlackHawk-666 ( 560896 ) <ivan.hawkes@gmail.com> on Thursday January 21, 2010 @06:41AM (#30844090) Homepage
    More expensive than renting a physical DVD either at my local store or Netflix -and- I have to provide the bandwidth as well...no thanks. (note: in Aus we don't get unlimited bandwidth, I'm on 50gb / month at present)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg ( 306625 )
      Bandwidth won't be a problem for you in Oz; if Hulu is anything to go by (and I think it is) there's slim-to-no chance that this service will be available outside the US anyway.
      • Quite right, I can't get Hulu here (without presumably some proxy fun and games) so doubtless Netflix will shaft us too. Amazon is the same with their so called download service. Regardless, the point stands, it's more expensive and locks up the bandwidth, and uses up your allocation if you're capped. Wonder if you get the extras too, or just the main film?
    • I think that, "... never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck full of tapes ..." would apply nicely here!
    • This is cheaper than pay-perview which would be the same type of audience.

      Myself, I am waiting for my Wii netflix cd. I hate early advertising because it hurts my need for immedite gratification :(

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Turzyx ( 1462339 )
      Why the hell should I use my bandwidth AND pay for the privilage? I get capped at 2mbit for 4 hours if I download more than 1GB during peak time.

      It is refreshing to see alternative business models being marketed to the movive/music industry, but these schemes really need to involve the ISP if they are to suceed, especially since as internet usuage increases, availible bandwidth decreases - and they aren't going to upgrade the networks any time soon.

      Oh yeah, and if I pay to download a duplicate that only
    • Wow, you have limited bandwidth and you
      waste it here?

  • by sofakingon ( 610999 ) * on Thursday January 21, 2010 @06:43AM (#30844096)
    I hope they allow people to use this service outside of the EU/US... I HATE not being able to use Hulu or Netflix or most of the Boxee services here Korea.
    • by Tanuki64 ( 989726 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @06:50AM (#30844150)
      I don't hate it. I just read 'This service is not available in your country' as 'Please use Bittorrent'.
      • I don't hate it. I just read 'This service is not available in your country' as 'Please use Bittorrent'.

        I agree. You might try tor for things like Pandora (Google "tor + Pandora"). If you were desperate for streaming US video, you could also try international VPN services.

    • Us europeans pretty much always end up with the short end of the stick as well (when it's american companies providing the service, at best they'll provide their service to the US + UK (+ maybe France) but mostly it's just the US), but like Tanuki64 I just interpret Apple's silence regarding tv episodes in the iTunes store and Hulu's refusal to allow us swedes to use their service as "Please use Bittorrent".


      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by lordholm ( 649770 )
        Apparently, licensing in the EU is horrible since collection "agencies" only have mandates in their home state and cannot issue licenses for use in other states. The upcoming commission have promised to patch the system so that an EU-wide license can be granted without any fuss, but as expected the national collection "agencies" are upset... I say "agencies" within quotes since they are normally set up as a company.
      • Why France?

        Just curious. :)

        • Big country, big market. Simple as that.

          You already see it with shows and dubbing. You'll get shows dubbed in French and German, but rarely in Polish or Dutch. (except maybe kids shows). Everything else is subtitled.

          Swiss residents so far benefitted from having a larger audience that just happens to speak the same language (French, Italian or German), so they got their dubbing "for free" because it was already done. It won't work for such deals I'm afraid where not the language but the country is the bar to

  • Good timing [slashdot.org], Google.
    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @08:12AM (#30844490)

      This is the sad truth. I said it before a million times (even to the IFPI and other organisations, but they refuse to listen): Legal merchandise has to have a higher customer value than counterfeit or stolen goods.

      It works for real goods and thus there's a thriving market for it. If you buy the "real deal" brand item, you get more than what you would get if you bought the knockoff. If I buy a genuine intel CPU, I get warranty. If I buy a genuine nVidia video card, I get support and downloads. Essentially, if I buy "honestly", I get more out of it than what I'd get from something that fell off a truck.

      With content you not only do not get more from a legit purchase than you get from a copyright infringing copy, it's even worse. You get less from the legal copy than you get from the illegal one. When I download content from P2P networks, I can freely choose how to use it. I can put it on my server and stream it to the TV. I can extract soundbits or video snippets without loss. With music, I can convert it in any format I please and put it on any arbitrary MP3 player, play it in my car stereo or, again, put it on my server and stream it anywhere. In theory, even the net if I so choose. Technically, there are very few limits of what I could do with the content. This is not true for legally bought content. I cannot (easily) transfer the movie to my server for streaming, I have to use specialized software to do that rather "simple" task. I might have to go through a lot of hassle to create a copy of the audio CD to put it in my MP3 player and, unless I plan to use possibly illegal software to do so, I could end up with a loss of quality in the process.

      The key problem is that legal content often has less value to me, as the consumer, than content ackquired through illegal means. That is the core problem today with content. And unless that's solved, more and more people will reach for the illegal channels. People enjoy having convenience. They want their stuff to "just work". And if the only way to get "just working" stuff is by P2Ping it, they will do that instead of buying. They would buy, no doubt. Because it's easier and more convenient. But they're learning that buying does not give them "just working" stuff.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by slim ( 1652 )

        I said it before a million times (even to the IFPI and other organisations, but they refuse to listen): Legal merchandise has to have a higher customer value than counterfeit or stolen goods.

        But they do. Pirated movies are all fuzzy and unclear, have bad sound, and frequently include footage of someone a few rows in front getting up to go to the toilet.

        I know this is true, because they told me in the unskippable advert at the start of the last DVD I rented. Why would they lie?

        • There was a recent 60 Minutes segment about copyright infringement, and it was nothing short of propaganda. The segment started with some details about how Mexican drug cartels are starting to sell illegal DVDs, and some FBI analyst spoke about how this is part of an attempt to diversify from drugs and child prostitution. Then, a sudden switch to a discussion about Bittorrent, with no attempt whatsoever being made to explain that Bittorrent does not support child prostitution, and a wrap up interview with
          • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnup . n et> on Thursday January 21, 2010 @09:17AM (#30844834) Homepage

            The industry has been lying transparently about piracy for at least 20 years.

            In the 80s, the news frequently trotted out the claim that profits from selling pirate videos were used to fund drug dealers. It only takes a tiny bit of analysis to realise that drug dealing is a profitable activity in itself.

            Just like the war on drugs, the war on piracy might be a bit more successful if it refrained from telling lies.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by goldaryn ( 834427 )
        Parent is insightful. I mean, that's why Steam platform adds value - it provides convenience - even over piracy! You have a permanent online backup of your games, the ability to install easily on multiple PCs, and faster-than-torrent downloads, whenever you want them (the odd outage aside). Many people I know buy games on Steam even though they already own them, such is the value of the service.
        • by BassMan449 ( 1356143 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @09:59AM (#30845188)
          That's always been my opinion too. A lot of people complain about Steam saying it is the ultimate form of DRM, but they fail to miss the point that while it may be a form of DRM it also adds a lot of value to the games you buy through it. I had to reformat a while ago and installing games was so much easier than it used to be because of Steam. Queue them up and go to bed. In the morning I had almost all the games I ever play ready to go. That convenience adds a great deal of value to the games for me.
    • Frankly, I am not all that opposed to paying for music and movies. What I am opposed to is paying for music and movies, and then finding out that I cannot play it on my device of choice, or that my operating system is not supported, or that at some point there will be an attempt to prevent me from playing the media unless I pay again. I do not want to lose access to the movie I paid for because someone claimed there was a copyright issue, even if I get my money back.

      "Renting" digital media is the most
  • ... are they counting the Linux market as part of their revenue stream?

  • Well, after my experiences with other such services - DRM attempts that just slow things down and stop it working or Silverlight with SkyTV in the UK (which is OK but isn't any better than showing video through Flash) - if YouTube and Google can be sensible about that not working then I'd happily pay some money to watch a film occasionally for convenience.

    My spending on DVDs will still be higher, but if they get it right then I would happily pay to watch a film online for the first time ever - if they ge
  • Considering that tons upon tons of people already use YouTube, I wonder how badly this will affect Netflix...I, for one, look forward to this.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @09:11AM (#30844804) Homepage

      Not at all.

      Youtube = watching on my laptop in low res (even their "hd" is low res.

      Netflix = 720p HD on my Big TV.

      it's no contest. Netflix wins. plus I can watch 60 movies for the price of 4 on Youtube.

      • Since this content is being purchased/rented, I bet YouTube makes it at least equivalent (better?) to what Netflix is doing. It won't be the same ol' low res crap.
      • Just wait until it matures. I highly doubt that Google/YouTube will keep their movies as grainy as their other content.
        And while movies are more expensive now, two things to consider:

        • These are their introductory prices, so they will probably drop over time, and
        • YouTube is way more accessible than Netflix, as YouTube serves up tons of other content at the same time.
  • I will likely not be able to view any of them here in Finland.

    (Not to mention that my Ubuntu desktop might not support whatever DRM they mandate.)

  • Implies some pretty nasty DRM.

    No thanks; but for several times that price, I might pay to download a video I can play permanently.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by IBBoard ( 1128019 )

      Depends how they do it. Sky let you rent or 'buy' [sky.com] episodes of House at £1.50 and £2 per pop respectively. That doesn't sound bad, and given that pretty much the only things me and the wife watch on Sky that we can't get on Freesat (free to air satellite) are House and Bones then it might work out cheaper than our Sky bill, even if we buy them.

      The down side is that "buy" doesn't seem to be buy. It seems to be a still DRMed perpetual rental, so I'm getting the worst of buying (higher price and not

  • First five films (Score:4, Informative)

    by Spyware23 ( 1260322 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @08:09AM (#30844472) Homepage

    Bit more info on the first five films, taken from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8471635.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    Summary: The first five films come from the Sundance Film Festival. The service will go live on 22 january, for US citizens only. The first five films available for rent are "The Cove," "Bass Ackwards," "One Too Many Mornings," "Homewrecker" and "Children of Invention."

    Interesting excerpt from the BBC article: "Content providers will be able to set their own prices, with YouTube taking a cut of the revenue. All but one of the Sundance films is being offered for $3.99 (£2.50) each for users to watch over a 48-hour viewing period."

  • Location and limitations

    Where do you have to be and what limitations will there be imposed? What countries will be able to use that service, and what software setup is required for their DRM to accept my box as a suitable viewing device? Can I stream it from my box to my TV (let's be honest, who wants to view a movie on a 19" screen when they have a 44" with Dolbi surround and all the jazz?)?

    That's basically what will make or break it.

  • So now we have DIVX (not the codec, the video rental plan) without the disk, and without the embedded security of the DIVX player.

    Cracked in 5, 4, 3, ....

  • by VShael ( 62735 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @08:56AM (#30844714) Journal

    And will they make it available to small indie movies too?

    There are MANY movies I have wanted to see, but the distribution channels just don't exist.

    One recent film festival (Fantastic Fest, Austin 2008 I think) allowed you to stream the movies being showcased at the festival from anywhere in the world. It was great. I saw some excellent documentaries I would never have had the chance to see otherwise.

    (Like the very disturbing "I think we're alone now" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1152828/ [imdb.com] )

  • by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @08:59AM (#30844732) Journal

    ...as it becomes a part of the movie industry.

    YouTube is headed for Commercialization hell (which is a very real place!) and that usually means:

    - More restrictions
    - More censorship
    - More forced Ads
    - Less fun
    - Less freedom
    - Less randomness

    The same reason GOOGLE was COOL - applies to services like YouTube, a place where you can search for - and find ANYTHING, as it becomes more and more commercialized, we'll see the increased restrictions on EVERYTHING, and YouTube will eventually just be another X-Factor/Americal-Idol & movie rental service, and ADVERTISING / Viral-videos outlet than the peoples no#1 info-video channel.

    Oh well - it was fun as long as it lasted.

  • The yahoo article was light on details but since YouTube works just fine on a Linux box I can't think of good reason why the new rental service shouldn't play just fine on my Linux HTPC. Unless they do something stupid like require Silverlight w/DRM for the rentals. But if they are going to offer these rentals in a Linux friendly format I will definitely support that choice with rentals, especially if the XBMC or Boxxee teams release a nifty and stable YouTube movie rental plugin.



  • by BlackHawk-666 ( 560896 ) <ivan.hawkes@gmail.com> on Thursday January 21, 2010 @09:39AM (#30845014) Homepage

    I watch a lot of films, and I'm on a pretty tight budget, so it needs to really provide bang-per-buck for me to be satisfied. I'm actually on a pension for now, so not only is the budget really tight, but I have a huge amount of free time to try and fill each day and TV is not helping.

    I've always been into alternative cinema far more than the mainstream films, but I tend to watch most things short of chick flicks and summer student films. I like my anime, Japanese horror, Korean cinema, and French films along with all kinds of other World Cinema - so my local store is never going to satisfy my desires.

    At present I fan-sub what I can, pirate what I have to, purchase on DVD/Bluray as much as possible and every so often make a trip to the local cinema. Over time the divx's will be replaced with DVDs/Bluray or they end up deleted.

    I divide films into several categories: see at the cinema, rent on dvd, buy it, download.

    Putting aside the option to see it at the cinema there are three other ways that a single company could fulfill my purchasing needs.

    On the day they release it to the rental places, they could also open up the opportunity for me to download a DRM copy that I can view at home for 2-3 days. The cost should be at least slightly cheaper than the rental stores because they have no overhead costs besides bandwidth.

    On the day the DVDs hit the stores they should allow me the opportunity to download a copy with no DRM beyond that a normal DVD has - i.e. an ISO image I can burn to DVD and the covers so I can print both on the media and the slips for the box. Pirates working out the back of a shop in Chinatown can manage this, any decent company should be able to also.

    The third way would be to make a DIVX/XVID copy available some time after release, and I really can't see them doing this or even being able to compete with the warez group - it doesn't make sense - so there are really just two ways to capitolise on me.

    Now here's what grinds my gears. If I go to the cinema, or rent a DVD from the shop prior to buying, I still pay full price for the DVD. There is in fact almost no incentive for me to ever rent a DVD since they release for purchase soon enough after. The same applies to a cinema version - and with electronic ticketing and digital projectors there seems little reason not to propose this...if I paid you a whack of cash to see it at the cinema I should get a rebate on purchasing it to own.

    Currently I might end up purchasing the "rights to view" a product three separate times. First it costs $22 AUS to view at the cinema, then $6 AUS to rent, then $30 AUS to buy to own. So on a really good title I have to pay a total of $58 AUS to see it at first release, then first home release, before finally buying to enjoy for the next few years.

    So, what I want is this: Digital Rights Management - where I actually get "rights" and they are managed.

    I want someone to whack up a pile of huge servers somewhere with plenty of bandwidth. When I pay my $22 for my cinema ticket I want that logged to my account and for them to offer me a modest discount on purchasing / renting the film in the future. When it's released to rental market I want that same site to let me know, and allow me to download the film. After I've seen the film I'd like to be able to indicate I want to purchase it on mainstream release, and get a decent sized discount on that. I'm a valued repeat customer, they should treat me like one and work hard to continue to do business with me. If for any reason whatsoever I lose a copy of a film I should be able to download it again at no cost. If a new print of the film comes out I should get access to this at minimal cost - why pay another $40 to buy the film again on Bluray when I already have a licence to watch it, and just want to see it in an improved bitrate/codec.

    Currently I have to rent a film, just to see if it's even worth one watch, let alone the five or so watches that are required to break even on the cost of perhaps buying i

  • I would use service even though I have netflix because I have Clearwire and therefore it takes 3 hours to watch a 90-minute movie. With netflix (and the daily show, and others), you can't just pause it and walk away until the video is halfway done loading- the silverlight or whatever halts the download when it gets a few seconds past the playhead.

    It's already bad enough that some youtube videos download at the 20-40 KB/s range, while others download at 5 times that speed (it's not my connection- I've gone b

  • How about doing it like Magnatune or Kongregate?
    Allow the uploader to choose a price range in which the viewer has to choose an amount.
    And/or if no range is chosen (=free) there is a tip jar for quick payments.


    Of course these all still are business models that ignore basic physics (that information is no real object, and therefore can not be a good / product. Ever). But it’s better than nothing.

    In the long run, one can only ask money for services. Like performing the song. Or like letting people

  • I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I'm still boycotting them.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"