Google Inc.'s YouTube dramatically expanded its movie rental service with the addition of 3,000 titles from major Hollywood studios, positioning the dominant online video service to capitalize on the growing number of Internet-connected televisions and portable devices.
YouTube head Salar Kamangar notified the site's estimated 105 million U.S. users via a blog post Monday that they would be able to watch "full-length blockbuster films," read reviews and catch behind-the-scenes videos on the site. Three studios — Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures — as well as independents, including Lionsgate Films, will offer their movies on YouTube the same day they are available on other on-demand services. Prices for new releases start at $3.99.
U.S. consumers spent $385 million buying and renting movies via the Internet in 2010 --up 38% from the year before -- surpassing for the first time the amount paid for online television shows.
According to research from IHS Screen Digest, the market for Internet television episode rentals and purchases last year was $366 million. In 2009, spending on online movies and TV was $280 million and $295 million, respectively.
The shift reflects the growing number of ways consumers can access movies through devices such as video game consoles, set-top boxes and the iPad at the same time that Hulu and other free streaming websites make it less appealing to pay to download TV shows.
Kiefer Sutherland, internet star? That’s the plan: EW has learned exclusively that Sutherland will follow up his critically-beloved run on 24 with a web series that’ll bow on Hulu this March. Dubbed The Confession, the 10 five-to-seven-minute webisodes will feature Sutherland as a hitman who has a theological discussion with a priest (John Hurt of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) about why his victims deserved to die. The series, which was written and directed by Brad Mirman, ends with one helluva twist.
“It came about in such a different way,” Sutherland tells EW exclusively. ”I was meeting a couple friends of mine, who wanted to introduce me to Chris Young (of Digital Broadcasting Group). I know so little about the internet, but that’s what a lot of friends do for work. Most of that stuff being produced for the internet is comedy, very much like Jackass kind of material, which is great but didn’t appeal to m
Amazon.com Inc has approached media companies with a proposal for a subscription service that gives users unlimited access to some television shows and movies over the Internet in a bid to rival Netflix Inc, two people familiar with the talks said on Tuesday.
The Seattle-based online retailer has approached media companies including Time Warner Inc, CBS Corp and Viacom Inc, these people say.
It is still not clear if the media companies would agree to Amazon's proposals which are still at an early stage, according to one person familiar with the talks.
The Financial Times reports that Google will launch the service first in the United States, but in its talks with studios has emphasized the "international appeal of a streaming, on-demand movie service pegged to the world’s most popular search engine and YouTube, according to several people with knowledge of the situation," the FT said.
"Google and YouTube are a global phenomenon with a hell of a lot of eyeballs — more than any cable or satellite service," one executive "with knowledge of the plans" told the FT. "They’ve talked about how many people they could steer to this?.?.?. it’s a huge number.”
YouTube's "Life in a Day" project has received 80,000 submissions from 197 countries in 45 different languages.
Ridley Scott, who's exec producing, said Thursday that he was "thrilled" over the results.
"The sheer number of uploads to the channel is astonishing and exceeds our expectations," he said. "I'm as fascinated as anyone by what kind of videos people have uploaded and the kind of film which will result from this innovative endeavor."
Director Kevin Macdonald, who has a team of 20 to go over the submissions, plans to cull the footage to about 100 hours and then edit down into feature length form. "It's a mountain, but we're eager to climb it," he added.
Redbox, which became the fastest- growing U.S. video retailer with DVD kiosks and a $1-a-day rental price stores couldn’t match, is developing an online strategy to stay competitive with larger rival Netflix Inc.
The company, the biggest division of Coinstar Inc., may use a Web service to expand its library beyond the 200 or so titles crammed into each of its 24,000 or so DVD dispensers, President Mitch Lowe said in an interview from Redbox’s headquarters in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois.
“The way we look at it is, How can it help us deliver to our customers things we can’t do in our kiosks?” Lowe said. “What role might it play in expanding our selection?”
Netflix Inc. is adding to the group of movies that its subscribers can watch online or over Internet-connected devices at the same time as they would have appeared on premium pay TV channels such as HBO or Showtime.
The deal announced Tuesday with film financier Relativity Media LLC adds to a batch of newer movies from The Walt Disney Co. and Sony Corp. that can be watched online through Netflix' 2-year-old deal with Starz Entertainment LLC on a service called Starz Play.
Among the first films in the deal are "The Fighter," starring Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams, and "Season of the Witch," starring Nicolas Cage. The films are set to hit theaters later this year.
Hulu, the online TV and film portal, has finally rolled out a subscription service, according to a note posted to the site on Tuesday.
For $9.99 a month, subscribers of Hulu Plus get access to a full season's worth of their favorite TV shows--and even past seasons in some cases--and "not just a handful of trailing episodes" that the free-version of Hulu offers, according to CEO Jason Kilar, who wrote the note.
Hulu Plus marks the first time the service has charged for content and it's arrival has been long anticipated. Supported by Disney, NBC Universal, and News Corp., some of Hulu's backers, especially News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, have been pushing for a paid service for over a year. The word out of Hollywood for a long time is that advertising just doesn't provide the kind of return that the studios and networks are accustomed to generating. Apparently, when it comes to premium TV shows, the ad-supported model works for television but not for the Web.
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