Coming Soon from Google: Pay-Per-Tube
It’s taken the better part of a year, but Google’s discussions with major movie studios about a YouTube pay-per-view movie service are coming to fruition. The Financial Times claims that by year’s end we could see YouTube transform from an online destination for user-generated content into a full-fledged, international on-demand movie service.
Rental prices haven’t yet been set, but sources tell the FT that newer film titles would cost about $5–a bit more than the $.99 to $3.99 YouTube charges for the older films currently available in its fledgling pay-per-view catalog. Presumably, there will be some sort of integration with Google’s forthcoming Google TV platform, though details are scant.
If the company does manage to roll such a service out, we’ll soon see YouTube going head-to-head with Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes, Netflix (NFLX) and Hulu–and in a big way. YouTube’s reach is already quite broad–with the right deals in place Google (GOOG) could bring a powerful pay-per-view service to the desktop and mobile Web very quickly. “Google and YouTube are a global phenomenon with a hell of a lot of eyeballs–more than any cable or satellite service,” an executive with knowledge of the plans told the FT. “They’ve talked about how many people they could steer to this…it’s a huge number.”