Early last month, Facebook got into the VOD game by having Warner Bros. offer movies for rental on the popular social networking site. Now another online heavyweight is getting into the VOD game. TheWrap reports that YouTube “will imminently launch a movie-on-demand service charging users to stream mainstream Hollywood movies.”
YouTube has been renting movies over the past year, but never any films from the major story. The company has been fighting to get those studios on board, but Fox, Paramount, and Disney have all declined (which means Warner Bros, Sony, and Universal have signed on). It’s worth noting that Paramount and Disney have also opted out of the Premium VOD service Home Premiere over piracy concerns. TheWrap believes YouTube will launch the service as early as this week or next. Hit the jump for more on this story.
Depending on the depth and quality of the library available to YouTube, this could be a major blow to Netflix, Apple, Facebook, cable provides and other VOD providers. Keep in mind that almost every smartphone and tablet has YouTube. With that market saturation already in place, YouTube can race past Netflix (which isn’t available on Android), Apple (which doesn’t have a streaming service), and Facebook (movies are currently only available via browser). Now the question is simply a matter of pricing, title availability, and video quality. If YouTube gets major titles like The Dark Knight and Inception (which is what Facebook received from Warner Bros. in addition to other titles), it will be sitting pretty. If it gets titles like Cutthroat Island, then the new VOD service may have a bit of trouble getting off the ground.