It is being reported that Google-owned YouTube is in discussions with major movie studios to obtain pay-per-view rights to movies. The report claims that by the end of the year we could be watching full Hollywood movies on YouTube instead of clips of stupid animal tricks. This is the next step in a natural progression that started with the launch of Google TV. This is very exciting, as I have been waiting a long time to see YouTube start offering streaming movies.
By far the biggest reason for Google to offer pay per view movies via Youtube is because the selection of YouTube movies online is pathetic. Yes it is free, but it is pathetic. It would remind you of walking into the worst video rental place you have ever seen, 10 years ago. They don’t even have a “Recent” category and I don’t even recognize any titles from the “Comedy” section. I do not recognize any movies in the “Drama,” “Animation,” or “Romance” sections either. Also, the “Recently Added Movies” section contains more Bollywood movies and outdated documentaries than anything else. I’m sure this is an embarrassment to Google, as Google tends to do things the right way in the interest of marketing. The current portfolio is unmarketable at best.
Both Google and the movie studios (The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Google was talking to Sony, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Warner Bros, and Lions Gate) stand to make a good amount of money on this deal. Rumor has it that a movie’s DVD release date will be the same as the YouTube release date. This puts the DVD in direct competition with the YouTube edition. Quite simply, many people in the world don’t own a DVD player, but do have access to a computer. Google and YouTube are seen by many, many more people than any cable or satellite service so Google gets more paying traffic, and the movie studios have their product viewed by audiences they were not capable of reaching before the deal.
It’s hard to get into additional discussions since the deal is not in ink yet, but there are some things we can consider. Apple is about to do something similar with an iPhone application. Netflix just launched their iPhone application. Hulu has been doing this sort of thing for a little while now. It is reasonable to think this is also the main cause for Google jumping into this market; to keep pace with these three online competitors. They plan on using the same pricing index as regular cable and satellite pay-per-view to compete with those providers as well.
The old common neighborhood video stores and even the giants of the industry are this much closer to being a thing of the past. While we’ve seen the decline over the past few years with the emergence of services such as Netflix, as well as the Redbox and Blockbuster vending machines, this is yet another reason not to go to one of these brick and mortar stores. This service by Google may also hurt DVD sales. I for one am sick of having what I consider a completely useless collection of DVDs. Having to store a ton of DVDs, that I only ever watched once and will never have time to watch again, is a waste of space, but for a long time, this was the only way to see a movie once it was out of the theaters. I think having the option to just view any movie when ever I want online and not have to dig through old boxes of old DVDs sounds very appealing. I am looking forward to putting all the old DVDs taking up valuable cabinet space out to the curb! Would you watch movies via YouTube on a pay-per-view basis, or would you prefer to buy the DVD? Are there any other changes you’d like to see Google make to YouTube?”