YouTube launches Hollywood Movie rental service

YouTube let the world know that they’ve entered movie-rental business with a simple tweet: "Say hello to my little friend!" http://youtube.com/movies #ytmovies. A wide range of movies are already available at YouTube Movies, including titles such as The Green Hornet, 300 and Inception. Each movie’s page gives a rating from Rotten Tomatoes, along with reviews of the film. The service is available now for those in the US, there's currently no word on when or if the service will launch internationally.

YouTube cleverly leverages their own vast collection of related materials for each film by listing community uploaded clips as ‘YouTube Movie Extras’. This, of course, helps keep users on the site after watching the movie. It’s likely that YouTube will also start promoting the service’s movies via related clips on YouTube.

This move strengthens Google’s media strategy – a strategy that is crucial to its smartphone and cloud-services businesses. Apple, Google’s friend and foe, already has a worldwide video rental service and is investing in making that service more cloud-friendly, and Microsoft has been toying with Zune for some time, and is reportedly also investing in cloud-based media.

Movies are priced at $2.99/$3.99 and are viewable via PC or Google TV, with 3,000 titles already in the catalog. Qualities vary between SD and HD. For more information, see the YouTube Blog.

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