YouTube jumps on the movie rental bandwagon

Yep - from today, you'll be able to stream all your favourite movies straight to your computer. Just like you can with LoveFilm. And Facebook...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 21 May 2012
YouTube has come over all Blockbuster today, launching its very own online movie rental service in the UK. For the meagre sum of between £2.49 and £3.49, you can find yourself immersed in the likes of The King’s Speech or The Dark Knight within seconds of entering your credit card details. It marks a bold move away from YouTube’s tried-and-tested formula of kittens that think they’re people and un-boxing videos – but will it be enough to compete with its rivals?

YouTube is just the latest in a rash of tech companies scrambling to dip their toes into the movie streaming, er, stream: first, there was LoveFilm, which apparently already has 1.6m customers in the UK and Europe (although a limited selection of titles – ie. not Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 1, not that MT is bitter…) . Then there is Facebook, which signed a deal with Hollywood studio Miramax to allow users to stream movies to their computers for the bargain price of  $3 – or £1.80, in real money. Although Facebook’s offering really is limited: it launched last month with just 10 films.

Obviously, Miramax is planning to increases its Facebook library, but until then, YouTube looks likely to have the edge as far as selection is concerned: after all, it’s already signed UK deals with Sony Pictures, Universal, Warner Brothers and Lionsgate. That’s on top of deals it already had with broadcasters like Channel 4 and Channel 5. (Although not the BBC – which is planning to put its content on Facebook. Interesting).

Nevertheless – it looks like this is the way the industry is going. MT awaits the day Twitter jumps on the streaming bandwagon. We can picture it now: ‘TwitTube: Silver screen classics in 140 seconds or less'. Well. These days, who has the time for more?

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