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August 30, 2010

Google intends pay-per-view film streaming via YouTube

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by Darren Allan

It seems that Google has been orchestrating another project in its plan for world domination, or net domination at least.

And this particular tentacle is snaking out further into the world of on-demand movies, in which the search giant made a move to expand its offering of free streamed films on YouTube last week (with classics from the likes of Sony, MGM and Blinkbox).

But now it seems, at least according to a report by the Financial Times, that Google envisions YouTube as becoming a global pay-per-view video service, in a move that could rather dampen Apple’s digital TV plans which have been splashed over the news of late.

Google is apparently deep in discussion with the major film studios, with hopes that such an on-demand movie library could be pitched up and ready to go before the end of this year (in the US, at any rate). The company would use its search site and of course the multitude of YouTube viewers to drive custom to the service.

An anonymous executive on the inside told the FT: “Google and YouTube are a global phenomenon with a hell of a lot of eyeballs – more than any cable or satellite service. They’ve talked about how many people they could steer to this… it’s a huge number.”

No doubt it is. Pricing would obviously be a key issue, however, in whether those millions steered to the new project would actually bite or not. The article in the FT reckons a $5 tag would be placed on newer films, which would be released around about the same time as the DVD came out.

Meanwhile, Apple will be announcing its iTV platform soon. In fact, it was rumoured that this would happen at the company’s press event on Wednesday, although it seems that might not be the case now, and we’ll have to wait a bit longer for the exact skinny from Mr Jobs.

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