YouTube experiments with movie rentals

YouTube on Friday will experiment with renting select movies from the Sundance Film Festival via Google Checkout.

YouTube on Friday will experiment with renting select movies from the Sundance Film Festival via Google Checkout.

Under the model, YouTube would make available five films from Sundance Friday through Sunday Jan. 1. According to the YouTube blog independent film makers can set their own prices. Meanwhile, YouTube will offer a rental collection of other videos in the health and education markets in coming weeks.

The YouTube move is interesting on a few fronts:

  • Independent film makers can select the time frame they want to rent movies and keep their rights.
  • The rental experiment could garner more content for YouTube.
  • And there may be a nascent business model in the making here.

It's far too early to say YouTube rentals will be a big hit. But by taking the independent movie route YouTube may be able to steal some of the Netflix thunder. Netflix has been a big contributor to the independent movie community.