Last week we posted about the sudden popularity of DVD rental kiosks like Redbox, and how they are just another one of the many alternatives putting the final nail in the coffin of traditional video rental stores. Now this week it looks like we may have another competitor preparing to enter the fray, with Variety reporting that Google-owned YouTube is currently in negotiations to offer streaming movies from major Hollywood studios. While there’s no debating that YouTube is one of the biggest entertainment destinations on the web, the question remains… are they already too late to the party?
There are plenty of digital video rental services out there right now including Netflix, Xbox Live, Amazon and iTunes (not all of which currently offer streaming and/or HD capability). Each of these providers typically offer a 24-hour rental within the $1.99 to $3.99 price range, with titles becoming available about a month after the DVD has been released. What would YouTube be able to offer that the others don’t already have?
Well I can tell you one thing: you can watch YouTube from a lot of web-enabled devices like the iPhone and the Nintendo Wii. The other thing is that YouTube is known as a place to go for convenience and instant gratification. If people need to see something right this second, but don’t care so much about quality, they go to YouTube. If Google can leverage some of those advantages, they may be able to steal a piece of the rental market. What do you think? Would this conflict with YouTube’s other free, ad-supported content? Can you see yourself renting movies from YouTube? Do you use any other video-on-demand services? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.