YouTube is planning to launch an unlimited subscription service for movies similar to Netflix and Amazon, and is also considering starting it the UK to cut down on the competition, reports The New York Post.
Google, which has been in talks with Hollywood studios for months, is aiming to launch the service first in Europe, with the UK being first up before expanding to the US, said executives who have been briefed on the plan.
Should all go to plan, it would put YouTube in direct competition with Amazon, which has just acquired UK streaming movie service LoveFilm in January, along with Netflix, which is also considering launching their service in Europe.
Google has put aside $100 million to cut deals with movie studios, to expand beyond their library of homemade videos. Google's entertainment guru, Robert Kync who moved from Netflix to help Youtube in their endeavor had this to say:
"Google is going to be launching channels in Europe and will launch a subscription video-on-demand service," one Hollywood executive told The Post. "They are going to spend $100 million on content."
And that's not all, last week it emerged that Google is offering as much as $5 million to celebrities for original channel content on Youtube, New York Magazine reported. And they can afford to splash the cash with Citigroup estimating YouTube's gross revenue at $1 billion last year.
In December 2010, Google acquired WideVine, a Seattle-based company specializing in digital rights management and secure services for Internet streaming video across several platforms.
WideVine's clients include Netflix, Blockbuster and Vudu among others.
Which seems like a step forward, as Google has been desperate to turn YouTube into an entertainment hub where users can watch movies and TV shows online, and has pursued deals with the major studios for months.
It's believed that it has also struck limited deals to show some movies to users free of charge.
Google has declined to comment.