YouTube to Launch Hollywood Movie Rentals this Year

YouTube is said to be launching a full-blown movie rental service by the end of the year. The new service would stream movies from major Hollywood studios and would leverage Google's might in search and online videos.

According to the Financial Times, Google is in talks with Hollywood studios over the venture and the plan is to launch a world-wide service in 2010.

Google is said to have been promoting its move into video-on-demand, for movie content, and the studios seem to like what they've seen.

Google has been working on such a service for many months now and it already offering some movies for rental on YouTube.

The negotiations with the major studios have been going for a few months now, but are now intensifying as several other companies are becoming increasingly interested in the space.

Some are speculating that Apple may be launching a new assault on the video-on-demand market, for movies and TV, this week. Netflix has also been beefing up its streaming catalog thanks to new deals with studios.

Google is also very interested in the market. Video rentals have been available on the site since the start of the year. The offer, for now, leaves much to be desired, but the service is very much in testing.

Google hasn't advertised YouTube rentals very much and still only offers very niche content in the US and, very recently, in the UK as well. The move hasn't exactly proven hugely successful until now, neither financially or in terms of users, but this probably has most to do with the poor selection on offer.

YouTube has also been offering free full-length movies and TV series for more than a year now. Again, the selection is not great and there are mostly older titles, but this too can be seen as a testing phase.

Now it looks like Google is done playing and wants to launch in full force with a full catalog of new titles from major Hollywood studios, available the day the DVDs hit the stores. Google also intends to put its full marketing muscle behind the move.

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