The Financial Times reports that Google is negotiating with most major studios on a plan to offer streaming movie rentals via YouTube, though we’re hearing that the studios would like to see a different brand involved in the deal to shed the free amateur video image.
According to the story, the movies would be available concurrent with their DVD release and be offered at about $5. In the present deal, the movies will be streaming only; downloading will be disabled by the digital rights management (DRM) process, but we also hear that this restriction may be removed at some point when studios are happy with the DRM process and a price is set. We think the rumored price is likely a bit higher than Google wants, but studios can’t kill the DVD revenue stream. We also hear that there will be a number of older movies available with lower prices and also perhaps with fewer restrictions on downloading.