Google’s YouTube is widely reported to be on the verge of offering an on-demand service similar to Apple’s iTunes, all in competition with VOD from MVPDs.
YouTube has been dabbling in VOD for more than a year; the operation has been making movies from the Sundance Film Festival on-demand for about a year. The company also has some films that can be watched with commercials inserted.
What’s new is that YouTube will be securing access for high-profile, premium films from major Hollywood studios. YouTube has now reached agreements with Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros., according to multiple media sources.
Films would be available on YouTube on the same day they’re available on other on-demand services.
A YouTube spokesman issued a statement saying: “We’ve steadily been adding more and more titles since launching movies for rent on YouTube over a year ago and now have thousands of titles available. Outside of that, we don’t comment on rumor or speculation.” The statement was distributed to The Los Angeles Times and others.
The Times reports that the site has allocated $100 million to underwrite the cost of original programming, which would be organized into television-like channels.