Does No One Remember That Google Tried And Failed To 'Rent' Videos Online In The Past?

from the short-memory-syndrome dept

The tech press is excitedly discussing the fact that YouTube is looking to work with movie studios to allow movie rentals, with many talking up how this is a way for Google to put in place a new business model for YouTube. But here's the thing: everyone seems to forget that, back when Google first launched Google Video (which was a competitor to YouTube before Google bought YouTube and merged the two), it was based on this very idea. You could "buy" videos on the site to watch. And what happened? It failed pretty miserably. People just weren't interested. Instead, they flocked to YouTube to get all that free content and community, and Google quietly changed around Google Videos' entire business model and concept, and then eventually realized that it couldn't compete, and so it bought YouTube.

So why would people suddenly be willing to pay when something that sounds nearly identical a few years ago failed to get much interest at all? Perhaps culture or technology has changed (it's easier to watch downloaded movies on a TV screen, certainly). But, I have to admit to being rather skeptical of this as a big business opportunity. We've already seen this movie, and it didn't end well.
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Filed Under: content, movies, rent, videos, youtube
Companies: google, youtube


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  1. identicon
    hegemon13, 4 Sep 2009 @ 7:44am

    The pricing is outrageous

    $4.00 per movie! For a stream. For a YouTube quality stream. Are you freakin' kidding me? No one is going to buy into this any more than any of the other ripoff streaming rental services that have tried this same thing. Google thinks that YouTube's name recognition will make it different this time, but it won't. No one is going to pay $4.00 to watch a crappy-quality flash stream on their computer monitor when they can rent a full-quality DVD to watch on their home theater for much less via Redbox, Netflix, or for the same price from Blockbuster. This just does not make sense.

    YouTube is talking about how to get "out of the office and into the living room," but at $4.00 per movie, they have already doomed themselves. Sure, they could incorporate YouTube into set-top devices, but why would a consumer bother? Their pricing is so high and their quality so mediocre that there is no incentive for the consumer to jump through hoops to make it work. There are already better, more convenient, more consumer-friendly services at a better price (hulu, Netflix streaming, cable PPV). Google's "innovation" has been very disappointing of late.

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