YouTube confirms video rental expansion; new movies to be available ‘soon’

On Monday, YouTube announced what had been known for some time: the Google division is expanding its video rental service, which had been in testing since late January, and will begin adding 3,000 new movie titles to rent, as of … now.

Some of it appears to be TV envy. As YouTube Head Salar Kamanger said, despite the fact that people buy youtube subscribers cheap, YouTube can be viewed on some 350 million devices:

… 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.

Indeed, it’s called time envy. YouTube wants more of your time.

A later blog post listed fairly recent movies such as InceptionThe King’s SpeechLittle FockersThe Green Hornet as rentals available (soon) on YouTube. [We say “soon” because looking at YouTube’s site, none of those listed above have been posted for rental. Also interestingly, one of those movies, The King’s Speech, is free for Amazon Prime members in its new Prime Instant Video shop]

YouTube said these movies will have industry-standard pricing. We’ll see how well it works out. There are tons of competitors, like, Netflix, and iTunes … even Facebook.

YouTube does have the advantage of “name recognition.” However, just as with HD-DVD, which lost to Blu-ray because of this issue, it’s all about content. YouTube needs as much content as possible as fast as possible.

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