Story Recycler: Oh Look, Google Interested In Renting Videos… Yet Again

from the we've-heard-this-before dept

Almost exactly a year ago, the tech press went nuts over rumors that Google was negotiating with movie studios to allow movie rentals via YouTube. At the time, we pointed out how odd it was that none of the press coverage seemed to point out that when Google first launched its Google Video offering, it was all based around video rentals with annoying DRM, and it failed miserably. Instead, everyone went to YouTube, and Google eventually had to buy up the site. And, again, when the company ran a trial earlier this year, reports came out about the fact that very, very few people actually paid. Google and video rentals don’t have a very good history.

So again, I’m at a bit of a loss as to why the tech press is pushing a story of rumors that Google is negotiating with the Hollywood studios to do movie rentals via YouTube. It’s nearly the identical story to the one this week last year. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that someone at the Financial Times, who “broke” this story, just misread the year on an email somewhere. Perhaps somewhere along the line Google will figure out a way to do movie rentals that work, but the silly fawning over “video rentals” just because (oh my goodness!) Google is supposedly entering the market seems misplaced (especially when no one seems to want to talk about its previous failures). The Financial Times report says that Google’s new offering “has caused excitement in Hollywood,” but, if anything, that seems like even more evidence that it’s doomed to fail.

Separately, I should note that I’m not linking to the FT version of this article, because FT’s paywall makes it difficult for most people here to read it. A PR person from the FT sent me the article, but I’m not sure what they expect me to do with it. It doesn’t do much good for me to link all of the readers here to an article they can’t read, does it?

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Companies: google

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Comments on “Story Recycler: Oh Look, Google Interested In Renting Videos… Yet Again”

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paperbag (profile) says:


Funny, I read this news on several sites. None of them were the Financial Times. That paywall must be working as intended.

Rentals: DRM free, multi-platform, $1 a day for DVD quality. $1.50 to $2.00 a day for 720/1080p. Rentals should stream from the server end to my player of choice.

If Google wants to lock down the rentals, a mutli platform – multi device player should be coded for this purpose. It shouldn’t get in my way. Think Steam for video rentals. Except, you know, it works multi-platform.

Anonymous Coward says:

If the movie studios got excited it pretty much says it all, it will have a lot of shortcomings and people will just ignore it.

On the other hand Cee Lo Green got in the iTunes top 50 after giving away his music for free on Youtube, so I want to hear from folks that say people want all for free how do they explain that? homies?

Cee Lo Green – F#$% You (#26 on the iTunes store)

The music obvious had no radio air time, had no other promotion media besides the good interwebz, now “run and tell that homeboy”

Looks like the same freeloaders, thieves and scum the industry is so afraid of, are also their biggest paying customers. “Ha, now ain’t that some shit? (ain’t that some shit?)”.

Anonymous Coward says:

The FT paywall sure is effective, simply using firefox with the user agent switcher addon, and setting it to the googlebot bypasses it entirely.

I hope this quote from their article counts as fair use…

“Viewers will stream rather than download the films and pay about $5 for newer titles. The movies would be available at the same time as their release on DVD and on Apple?s iTunes store and, meaning Google could count on recent box-office hits to power the service.”

This makes sense based on what youtube has been doing recently, except the price is $3.99 for newer movies not $5.

Mike, maybe you need to take a look at The YouTube Store.

Anonymous Coward says:

Won't happen in this house

It would need to be DRM free downloads before I would even think about buying into this. I wouldn’t even spend 50 cents to stream a movie. The broadband I have is crap (advertised as 5mb down but in reality can only hold steady at about 800kbps). It spends more time buffering than playing and often the audio is more fluid than the video making it all out of sync. Not until I get an equivalent of a S. Korean connection would I even think about it.

ComputerAddict (profile) says:


I’d be willing to bet that the whole idea of renting movies on YouTube is going to be part of the GoogleTV launch coming this fall. It might seem a little strange since they are partnered with DISH, and dish probably wants people to pay for their Pay-Per-View, but if I were a Google Exec i’d sure like to monetize all those Set-top Boxes and those Sony TV’s that come with GoogleTV. If they market it as part of GoogleTV (Which is Android based) and eventually brought it to handhelds (like netflix’s app) I could see it being successful for the right price, and right flexibility.

Hopefully rentals are .99 cents or cheaper, and hopefully let you watch them either: a) as much as you want over a time period, which is similar to DVRing a DISH PPV or b) let you watch it 5+ times.

Bob (profile) says:

Why not link to them?

It doesn’t do much good for me to link all of the readers here to an article they can’t read, does it?

Of course they can read it– they just have to pay for it. But as I’ve pointed out time and time again, the option of paying for content is obviously impossible for anyone at this site to even imagine is possible.

It’s worked perfectly well for hundreds of years. Bibliographies and citations routinely point to sources that require payment. The Greatest Generation that won WWII learned with books that included citations pointing to other books and newspapers that could only be read if someone coughed up some change for the copy. (Libraries paid too with tax dollars collected by folks even rougher than the RIAA!)

Yet you continue to claim that you’re all for helping content creators make money with new, innovative business models. It’s just the business models can’t require payment and they can’t crack down on those who subvert it etc. etc.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why not link to them?

Yah right, you didn’t live in those days did you?

Most people got their newspaper from the trash or benches, all those resources used to teach were shared and copied and you still fantasize about a world were everything was paid. Delusions of an idiot perhaps?

Ever read Henry Miller and his description of that era in the 30’s, full of drugs and promiscuous sex were he lived from others most of the time.

To this day in the London Tubes people have an habit of leaving their newspapers for other to read.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

Re: Why not link to them?

“””Of course they can read it– they just have to pay for it.”””

First part correct, “they can read it” at many many other websites that don’t put up idiotic paywalls. Nobody is saying the FT shouldn’t try to make money, but a paywall is doing it wrong.

Second part is incorrect because as I noted, you can go almost anywhere and read the information without paying for it.

p.s. News (aka information) has essentially become an infinite good. Deal with it.

bob (profile) says:

so not infinite

News (aka information) has essentially become an infinite good. Deal with it.

Oh sure most beautiful spirit, thank you for your path to enlightenment. Can you offer more precise instructions on where to find the infinite well of news from, say, the Rocky Mountain News or the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. I would be most grateful enlightened one.

Jim (user link) says:

Things have changed

Things have changed since Google’s first failed attempt at selling/renting movies on-line. There are now possibly millions of people who pay, at least in part, for the privileged of getting video content via the Internet through platforms like Roku, Yahoo! Connected TV, and soon, Google TV.

The 600K people who bought Roku media players did so principally because it allows them to watch thousands of Netflix movies on their TVs instantly. Those Netflix subscribers pay at least $8.99 per month. As an anecdotal data point: 4 out of five people that I know who own Roku players don’t even bother to rent from Netflix by mail anymore. Even if just 100K of those Roku users are on-line-only, that’s a subscription revenue of $899,000 per month.

Clearly, Google is seeing the the paid-VOD-over-the-Internet model is starting to work. If they do Google TV right, then lots of people will have instant access to their content the moment they turn on their new TVs. In my opinion, Netflix has already proven fairly conclusively that a significant number of people will pay for the convenience, if it’s packaged correctly.

Just because the initial Google effort was a spectacular failure, doesn’t mean the next one will be. The first effort expected people to pay for DRM-crippled downloads that they had to watch while sitting in front of their computers by using a proprietary player. I believe the next effort will focus on allowing people to rent high-quality movies that will play on big screen TVs with the click of a remote. I’m not predicting it will work (there are a lot of ways Google can screw up), but it’s a much different value proposition from Google’s first attempt.

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