Last week, I wrote an article about movie theaters’ concerns over movie studio distribution deals. The story dealt with Warner Brothers, Sony, Universal and Fox rolling out new video-on-demand (VOD) services via DirecTV, a move that has the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) up in arms.
Now to pour salt in the wound is this new item: According to a leak reported by TheWrap.com, Warner, Sony, Universal and some independent studios, including Lionsgate, have partnered with YouTube for an upcoming VOD service.
The site, which is owned by Google and garners 130 million monthly users, already offers movie rentals, but those typically follow DVD releases. The new VOD titles would presumably be available within a shorter timeframe — like smack dab within the DVD availability window.
While movie houses will probably be collateral damage in this, it might actually be iTunes that’s in the cross hairs. After all, Apple’s music, app and video service is a juggernaut in digital movie rentals/sales.
Unlike Netflix, Hulu Plus, and even HBO Go or Xfinity, iTunes sells and rents its movies individually, just like the reported YouTube VOD service will. For the studios, the transactional pricing model can generate more profits — something they need, in light of sliding DVD sales. And for the price, viewers get access to titles sooner.
But the arrangement isn’t irresistible for everyone. At this time, Paramount and Fox — which did sign on for the initial iTunes movie offering — declined theYouTube deal. (Disney’s status is unknown.)
YouTube has declined to comment about the service, which is expected to start at any time (even as early as this week or next). No pricing details, however, were given.
Are you excited by the prospect of Google + Hollywood? Or are you satisfied with the current options of cable TV, iTunes, Netflix, Hulu and others? Which one do you use the most? Let us know your favorite way of watching movies below.