Is Google planning a challenge to Netflix in movie streaming market?

According to a published report, Google's YouTube is planning to launch a subscription movie streaming service in the United Kingdom that would be similar to Netflix's model, with users able to stream an unlimited amount of content for a flat fee.

The New York Post reported that the search giant is targeting Europe--most likely starting in the U.K.--because the competition would be less fierce than it is in the United States.

But Google, which has set aside $100 million for content deals this year, has had little success in the past in its dealing with Hollywood, one of, if not the largest, stumbling blocks it's faced in its underwhelming Google TV launch.

"Google is going to be launching channels in Europe and will launch a subscription video-on-demand service," one Hollywood executive told The Post. The paper said Google exec Robert Kyncl, who left Netflix to give YouTube some Hollywood panache, is leading the initiative.

It's not the first time Google has been rumored to be considering an international launch of a movie service.

In August, reports surfaced that the company was weighing the launch of a pay-per-view service that would charge $5 per view. The rumors said it would launch in the U.S. and roll out internationally quickly thereafter.

The fly in the ointment then? Hollywood is concerned that their wares would be pirated, which has continued to be an issue for the company despite its purchase in December of digital solutions provider Widevine.

Netflix, meanwhile, currently has no presence in Europe. Its lone international offering is the service it launched in Canada last year. That service has been so successful that Netflix execs have been giddily alluding to roll-outs in other international markets for months.

Amazon, meanwhile, which just gave subscribers to its Amazon Prime shipping service unlimited streaming access to some 5,000 movies and TV episodes through its Amazon Instant Video portal, also recently made a big investment in Europe. The e-tailer in January acquired LoveFILM, a streaming movie service in the U.K.

For more:
- see this NY Post report

Related articles:
O! Canada! Great White North finally gets Netflix streaming
Netflix debuts streaming-only plan, raises prices
Amazon acquires LoveFilm as global competition for streaming movie
Amazon Prime members get free video streaming bonus
Google acquires video solutions provider Widevine

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