Business Technology

Monday 19 February 2018

YouTube expands movies rental service

Emma Barnett

YouTube has added 3,000 films to its US movie rental service in a bid to directly compete with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

The additional films will be available from next Monday and sees the video-sharing site move competitively into the on-demand movie space.

The site will also feature film reviews and ‘behind the scene extras’.

YouTube first launched its movie rental service last January in partnership with the Sundance Film Festival. Only US YouTube users were able to rent the initial five films on offer for $3.99 each for a period of 48 hours.

However, the venture generated low revenues, only making $10,709.16 from the rentals during the festival.

Since then YouTube is understood to have been in talks with the major movie studios about expanding its rental offering and is also investing $100m on original programming for the site.

“You’re finding more and more of the content you love on YouTube, which is now available on 350 million devices,” the head of YouTube, Salar Kamangar, wrote in a company blog post.

“We know this because you’re watching videos to the tune of 2 billion views a day. But 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.”

It is not yet known when the service will be made available to the UK and Irish audience.

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