If there’s a way to make money with YouTube, Google is sure to find it. The company is certainly trying enough different ways to generate revenue. Last week, YouTube announced that they will start renting movies. According to a company blog entry, an agreement with the Sundance Film Festival will make five films available for rent for $3.99 each through the end of January. You can find the films featured on the YouTube home page. Apparently, YouTube is focusing on independent film makers for the start, though the blog mentions “a small group of partners across other industries” that will be invited to participate in the program.
The size of the catalog is underwhelming, to say the least, and it’s hardly a bombshell commitment. On the other hand, it represents a new direction for YouTube, and it will be interesting to see if viewers are willing to pay for long form content from a site that is associated with free short videos. I suspect that without a much larger collection that appeals to a broader audience, YouTube is not going to become the go-to site for movies for most people.
But Google isn’t depending just on movie rentals to expand YouTube’s revenues. The company recently announced a deal to provide live worldwide coverage of a sporting event. Starting on March 12, it will stream all 60 matches of the Indian Premier League tournament. (That’s cricket, if you’re not familiar with the IPL.) The programming will be shown free, supported by advertising. The content will be shown on a dedicated YouTube channel. Sadly, this coverage will not be available in the U.S.; you have to go to fee-based Willow.tv for the IPL coverage in this country.
Keep throwing the spaghetti, Google. Something’s bound to stick.