Google’s YouTube is said to be negotiating with Hollywood’s top movie studios to launch a pay-per-view movie service by the end of this year, according to the Financial Times. This would create a direct competitor to the the yet-to-be announced PPV service from Apple’s planned ITV.
YouTube is by far the best watch video site, but so far the fare consists of mainly short-form user-generated content. In the past few months, Google has added some long-form programming, as well as its premium music video service Vevo.
On September 1st, Apple is holding their yearly Special Event at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco and word is out that Steve Jobs will introduce a revamped Apple ITV service, which will include TV series and movies for rental and possibly for sale.
For its part, YouTube has been signing occasional deals with content owners for long form programming, but so far these have been free-to-view offerings rather than pay-per-view.
With Hulu gaining some ground with US viewers, with both a free and a premium service, and plans to expand internationally, the YouTube move towards premium PPV would make sense.
According to the FT, Google will use its search technology and YouTube to direct viewers to the new service, which is likely to launch first in the US, with other countries added over time, the people added.
“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 is quoted as saying. “They’ve talked about how many people they could steer to this – it’s a huge number.”