Feeds

YouTube and Hulu dabble in for-pay vids

Fees to pay the bills

High performance access to file storage

Two of the internet's most popular video websites are planning to charge users to watch certain movies and television shows online.

YouTube and Hulu both have schemes to erect paywalls around a limited amount of content in order to drum up revenues that online advertising has failed to provide, according to recent announcements and reports.

YouTube said on Wednesday that it will offer five films from the 2009 and 2010 Sundance film festivals available for online rental. The flicks will be served from this Friday until Jan. 31, when the festival ends.

But the website's modest entry into rentals appears to a warmup to even more pay-per-view offerings. "In addition to these five films, a small collection of rental videos from other U.S. partners across different industries, including health and education, will be made available in the weeks ahead," the Google-owned company stated on its blog.

"Making content available for rent will give our partners unprecedented control over the distribution of their work -- they can decide the price of their videos and the rental duration," the company added.

YouTube movie rentals — as planned thus far — will be available to US users only and will require a Google Checkout account for payment. Prices weren't announced, although Google said it will provide more information in another blog post on Friday.

Citing "people famililar with YouTube's plans," the LA Times reports that in recent months, YouTube has been negotiating for pay-per-view streaming rights to films and television shows. "Within months," the website will begin selling TV and movie rentals from Hollywood studios, the paper claims.

Meanwhile, more rumors of Hulu heading for a subscription service plan have surfaced.

The US internet video site — a joint venture of NBC Universal, News Corp, and Walt Disney — has plans to begin charging for episodes of popular shows, the LA Times said in a separate report. Programs like "30 Rock," "Modern Family," and "House" are prime candidates to fall under a paywall.

One plan under consideration is to allow users to watch the five most recent episodes of TV shows gratis, while requiring a subscription of $4.99 per month to watch older episodes, the newspaper claims. A better idea of the pricing model could emerge within six months, anonymous sources "familiar with the matter" are cited as saying.

Hulu's content providers — which are its parent companies — are under pressure from US cable operators that are struggling to preserve their business model in the age of free streaming TV.

Some suspect that US cable giant Comcast's recent purchase of NBC Universal spells the end of Hulu's free ride. However, the company has publicly denied/a> that establishing a subscription service for Hulu is on its agenda. Rumors of a Hulu Premium service have been brewing well before the NBC Universal acquisition.

Hulu would not be the only one moving to a subscription model to make up for slowing online ad revenue. Internet radio firm Pandora recently began charging users a monthly $1fee if they listen to more than 40 hours a month. On Wednesday, The New York Times announced plans to charge users for access to its website after they read a certain amount of stories. The newspaper said the pay scheme will likely be up and running sometime in 2011. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.