Several articles today have indicated that starting sometime in the next month or so, YouTube will have full length blockbuster Hollywood movies available to be viewed. For the better part of the last year, YouTube's parent company, Google, has been in talks with several studios about launching an ad-supported (of course), streaming movie service.
"It's not imminent. But it's going to happen. I would say you can expect to see it, if all goes well, sometime within the next 30 to 90 days," CNET News quoted one of the executives as saying. In July, Lionsgate, which has recently began leading the way as an upcoming purchase/distro platform for Indie films, agreed to give YouTube access to only short movie clips.
There are some circles which are sceptical about whether enough ads can be placed into a streaming movie to make it profitable and that too without overloading viewers with commercials. I am of the school of thought that you can't really enjoy a few select full feature films, or get their intended affect, from watching them on your computer, but, for some odd reason, I have no problem with streaming television shows... just the way my brain works.
While Google refused to talk to any news outlet in detail about the specific details, a company spokeswoman issued this statement: "We are in negotiations with a variety of entertainment companies. Our goal is to offer maximum choice for our users, partners, and advertisers."
I find this to be yet again, a double edged sword. On one (negative) hand, putting full features up on YouTube could potentially draw attention away from user created content. One the other (positive) hand, putting full features made by Hollywood on YouTube could legitimize Indie content with the mainstream on an even greater scale. I'm not expecting Eagle Eye or Iron Man to make it up anytime soon, as I think they may be too recent to post, but I am expecting something along the lines of Gremlins 2 or Exit To Eden to rare its head on the website.
One thing is for certain, YouTube has been a focal point in the way media is viewed, its given the entire world the best distribution platform known to man, short of telepathic images being broadcast into our head by Jean Grey or Charles Xavier, and I expect that YouTube will grow and change in more ways than we can imagine in the coming year.