Tag Archives | Digital Movies

YouTube Opens Up Rental Store

The streaming rental industry is getting ever more crowded, and now it’s going to have to make room for at least one more. YouTube has seemingly launched an streaming rental service, offering movies and television shows for anywhere from 99 cents to $3.99. Content would be viewable in a 48-hour window following purchase.

While most of the content available appears to be from independent, small studio and Bollywood sources, I spotted several Lionsgate movies in the list. Recent hit Precious and Brothers are currently being featured, and the service had a few catalog titles, including the Saw movies and 3:10 to Yuma.

Television show content does not appear to come from any major American network. YouTube has not officially announced this service as of yet, and it may just be that the weak offering here could be a result of this merely not being ready for prime time.

YouTube had previously experimented at the beginning of the year with $5 rentals of Sundance titles. The offering did not do so well, likely making the site much more than $10,000 or so in rental fees.

As I mentioned earlier, any offering from YouTube runs into the reality of a small yet increasingly crowded market. If the service wants to be successful, it’s going to have to ramp up its offerings quickly, as Netflix is currently king in this space. That said, the extreme popularity of YouTube itself works in the service’s favor.

We’ll have to watch this in the coming months to see the site’s next moves, and if it begins to strike hardware deals to bring the service off the computer screen and into the living room. After all, who wants to sit in front of a computer screen for two hours to watch a movie?


Best Buy Does Digital Movies

Best Buy CinemaNowWhat happens to Best Buy when all of the content we rent and buy comes to us via the Internet rather than on shiny discs we buy in stores? The company won’t go the way of Tower Records or the Virgin Megastores, but it’ll surely miss the money it made selling CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Ray. And it’s clearly girding itself for the day when those racks of discs go away. Last year, it bought music subscription service Napster–and now it’s announcing a partnership with Sonic’s Roxio CinemaNow service to get into the digital movie business.

More details on Best Buy’s plans are yet to come, but Sonic told me that the retailing giant will create a Best Buy-branded version of CinemaNow, and will work with hardware manufacturers to build it into gadgets such as HDTVs and Blu-Ray players. A Best Buy representative told the New York Times’ Steve Lohr that the service will be available early next year, and that the goal is to let us pay for a movie once and then watch it on an array of devices: not just TVs and PCs but also media players and phones.

Sounds good to me. I’ve bought Walt Disney’s Pinocchio so often over the past twenty-four years, in so many slight variants, that I’ve lost track. I’d love to think that I could buy it just one more time and be done with it–if not for life then at least for a long, long time to come…