In January of 2010, YouTube offered a handful of Sundance films as rentals while Google toyed with the idea of getting into the movie business. Today, per the official YouTube blog, the number of rentals has been expanded by 3,000 additional titles as the website eyes Netflix and Facebook as video-on-demand competitors.
"You're spending just 15 minutes a day on YouTube, and spending five hours a day watching TV. As the lines between online and offline continue to blur, we think that's going to change," blogged Salar Kamangar, head of YouTube, who will probably be right about our changing media consumption habits. At the website's movie section, titles from select studios will be added for rental at "industry standard pricing" (if iTunes is a guide, $3.99 for a typical rental would be a guess).
According to The Wrap, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros.,Universal Studios and Lionsgate have signed on to the streaming movies-on-demand service. Disney, Fox and Paramount have "so far" declined to join. Some titles mentioned as being available for rentals on the YouTube blog are Goodfellas, Despicable Me, The Green Hornet and The King's Speech. Amazon has also moved aggressively into the online movie rental business.