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YouTube to launch paid video-on-demand service

Studios on board, reports claim

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YouTube is reportedly poised to launch a paid streaming movie-on-demand service with the okay of a number of Hollywood studios.

Speculation suggests that the service may launch next week however neither Google nor YouTube have responded to the claims. Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Brothers, Universal and a raft of independent studios, including Lionsgate are rumored to have licensed their movies for the new service.

YouTube already has a basic movie rental service which it launched a year ago, but its latest moves would create studio-backed streaming.

The move comes weeks after news that YouTube would invest US$100 million to produce original content for 20 newly created channels that will be spotlighted on a revamped home page. According to the Wall Street Journal, this budget would be devoted to creating between five and ten hours a week of original content across a range of genres.

It is understood that the slate of new content will be gradually introduced into the YouTube ecosystem with celebrities mooted to be behind some of the channel offerings.

Speaking at MipTV earlier this month, YouTube/Google Senior Director for Content Partnerships EMEA, Patrick Walker, said that the technology giant had been working closely companies like Fremantle and Endemol on new broadcasting ideas.

“You have to engage or you’re going to be left behind,” Walker said.

Walker added that the UK’s Channel 4 was excelling at using different digital approaches to stimulate their content proposition. “They’ve been very innovative not just for using different platforms for syndication and distribution of their content,” he said.

He also endorsed the broadcaster's strategy of viewing all different platforms as having equal value. He warned traditional broadcasters that, “if they fail to move on that they’re going to become irrelevant, and that’s their own fault.” ®

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