YouTube is looking to leverage its position as the most-viewed video web property in the world to craft deals with Hollywood studios that will give it a more substantial library of movies and TV episodes by the end of the year.
The Financial Times reports the Google-owned site has been meeting with multiple studios for several months playing up the aspect of its worldwide brand recognition, and its search engine capabilities. With Apple expected re-launch its existing Apple TV brand Wednesday, including an expected tie-in to its iTunes store, YouTube's discussions have become more pointed.
YouTube plans to offer the movies for $5 per streaming rental, and would have access to the films on their DVD release date. The service would launch in the United States and gradually be rolled out to other countries.
YouTube already has a couple of hundred, mostly, older titles available for rental on its site, which has seen slow consumer uptake. It also partnered with the Sundance Film Festival to bring several festival films online.
Google, which bought the site for $1.5 billion in 2006, says it expects YouTube to show a profit this year.
The news is the latest in what has become a hot VOD market.
Netflix in July signed a deal with Relativity Media that gave it access to first-run movies from the studio, and earlier this month signed a five-year deal estimated to be worth $1 billion with pay-TV channel Epix--itself a relative newcomer to the space--that gives it access to a plethora of newer content.
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