Users can watch new releases for $3.99
Google-owned online video site YouTube will be offering over 3,000 popular movies for rent starting on Monday. The new movies will be in addition to the free user-created videos it already has.
YouTube product marketing manager Camille Hearst said in a blog, "In addition to the hundreds of free movies available on the site since 2009, you will be able to find and rent some of your favourite films."
Hearst added that YouTube is working towards bringing some titles the same day they are released on DVDs.
YouTube, which was bought by Google in 2006 for $1.65bn, will compete with companies such as NetFlix with the rental service.
Last month, e-commerce company Amazon had announced the launch of Amazon Instant Video, a free video on demand service last week and the acquisition of Lovefilm which is a DVD rentals business in the UK.
To avail the service, users will first have to upgrade their accounts. They can then select a movie to watch after paying $3.99 for new releases and $2.99 for others. The users must watch the selected movie within 30 days. Once the users start viewing a movie, the window will be active for 24 hours, within which they must complete watching it.
The company hopes to leverage from technology such as faster broadband and mobile devices.
"You’re spending just 15 minutes a day on YouTube, and spending five hours a day watching TV," YouTube head Salar Kamangar said.
"As the lines between online and offline continue to blur, we think that’s going to change."
"Whether it’s short movie trailers, funny movie parodies or full-length blockbuster films, we encourage you to sit back and settle in to the YouTube movies experience," Kamangar said.
The company will also provide another feature for users in the US — YouTube Movie Extras, which will have unseen videos about the movie, cast interviews and parodies created by YouTube users.
YouTube said it has signed up Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, and NBC Universal to offer the movie rental service.
Last month, YouTube started its new service "YouTube Live" to offer live streaming videos of concerts, sports and interviews to users.