YouTube announced an expansion of it's streaming movie service, YouTube - Movies, to include current titles from many of the big-name Hollywood studios. Over the next few weeks they will be adding some 3,000 new titles that will be available for rent using your YouTube account and a major credit card for prices starting at $2.99. Here's an excerpt from the announcement:
In addition to the hundreds of free movies available on the site since 2009, you will be able to find and rent some of your favorite films. From memorable hits and cult classics like Caddyshack, Goodfellas, Scarface, and Taxi Driver to blockbuster new releases like Inception, The King's Speech, Little Fockers, The Green Hornet and Despicable Me.
YouTube also promises additional, free content including behind the scenes footage, interviews, and other related videos from the YouTube community. Movie pages also have reviews from Rotten Tomatoes for critical feedback before you rent.
Of course this plunges YouTube into the sea of video rental companies that includes Netflix, iTunes, Amazon.com and others, so it will be interesting to see how well they do. Netflix is a fantastic experience that is easily shared between multiple devices (computers, phone, tablets) and looks like the one to beat. YouTube's announcement mostly stressed video access on multiple computers but there wasn't much mentioned about mobile devices. I did notice their title selection includes movies that are much more current than the ones available for streaming on Netflix. That, and the fact that YouTube already has 2 billion video views a day, leads me to believe this will be a successful move for them.