YouTube has been dabbling with video-on-demand movies for a couple of years-- you'll recall its very low-key Sundance experiment and its even older deal with MGM for some action films and American Gladiators reruns from 2008?-- and there has been an awful lot of chatter, seemingly every quarter, that it's about to get serious and roll out an offering to unsettle the market.
Well, the chatter is back, and this time YouTube apparently is about to roll out an expanded VOD offering, but the jury's still out on whether or not it will have much of an impact aside from adding one more player to what rapidly is becoming an already overweight sector.
The Wrap this week reported YouTube is launching, or relaunching, its VOD play with content from some of the big studios. AllThingsDigital, meanwhile, reports the launch is "weeks but not months" away. Sony, Warner Bros., Universal and Lionsgate all are hopping on the YouTube train.
YouTube currently offers a selection of (mostly unknown) flicks as streams, rather than downloads, and ATD says its understanding is that won't change.
"We think it will start with VOD, but broaden to include sell-through over time," an executive at one Hollywood studio that has signed the deal with YouTube told The Wrap. "We are pretty excited because we are happy to see new entrants come in transactionally rather than a subscription model."
Another exec who talked to ATD had a different take: "A small VOD [video on demand] deal? Who cares? There are 40,000 other people who are selling VOD. This is a short-term, transactional deal."
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