Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Paramount, Google Link Up for Movie Rentals

Viacom and Google are locked in a copyright lawsuit that is nearly five years old. But that doesn’t mean the companies can’t do business together.

This morning, for example, Google’s YouTube is announcing a deal to rent movies from Viacom’s Paramount studio. The move will bring some 500 titles to Google, ranging from newish hits like the “Transformers” movies to oldies like “The Godfather” trilogy; users will also be able to rent the movies from Google’s new Google Play hub.

The announcement means that Google, which has been struggling for years to figure out Hollywood, now has rental deals with five of the six big studios: Paramount, Sony, Time Warner’s Warner Bros., Disney, and Comcast’s Universal.

The lone holdout is 20th Century Fox, which, like this Web site, is owned by News Corp. All six studios rent their movies via Apple’s iTunes. It’s worth noting that Paramount is one of the few studios that has experimented with direct-to-customer sales and rentals, via its own Web site.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald