Google Inc. (GOOG)’s YouTube website will add “The King’s Speech,” “Inception” and about 3,000 other titles to its movie-rental service, accelerating its shift into Hollywood entertainment and stepping up competition with Netflix Inc. (NFLX)
YouTube is adding films from Sony Corp. (6758), Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros., Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures and Lionsgate, according to a statement today. The additions will push YouTube’s total movie rentals available to more than 6,000. Most of the newer titles will cost $3.99 and up to rent.
“By expanding our content partnerships worldwide and stimulating the success of budding filmmakers, artists and entrepreneurs, we’ll ensure that YouTube remains the best place for the world to see and discover rich talent,” Salar Kamangar, head of YouTube, said today on the company’s blog.
YouTube, which built a following by letting users post home videos and amateur clips, is counting on professionally produced content to draw more visitors and keep them on the site longer. YouTube users currently spend about 15 minutes on the site per day on average, compared with the five hours they spend on television, the company said. The expanded movie rental offerings also could put pressure on Netflix, the biggest provider of streamed movies online.
The new titles — including older films such as “Scarface” and “Goodfellas” and newer releases like “Despicable Me” and “Little Fockers” — will be added to YouTube over the coming weeks, the company said.
The rentals will be accompanied by reviews and extras, YouTube said. The company also offers some free full-length movies on the site, in addition to the rentals.
The movies, which are streamed over an Internet connection, can be viewed within 30 days of renting them. Once users start watching the movie, they’ll typically have to finish within 24 hours.
Google, based in Mountain View, California, rose $2.38 to $537.68 at 4 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares have fallen 9.5 percent this year.
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