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Watchout Netflix & iTunes, YouTube Might Offer Movies for Free!


Just when it looked like services such as iTunes and Netflix were going to define the online video rental business, along comes YouTube. With the Google-owned video site announcing a new, larger 1GB file size limit for its content partners, YouTube is pushing closer to offering feature-length films.

From the YouTube memo, posted on Silicon Alley Insider:

Long Form Content
You now will be able to upload and monetize videos in your account that are longer than 10 minutes. This feature is exclusively for partners. Independent Film makers that partner with us will now be able to upload their feature films on our site. Please note that for long form content, the maximum file size is 1GB.

1GB is not enough for a two-hour HD-quality movie, but plenty for a 60-90 minute standard definition video.

When first learning of the new limit, my reaction was "great, now we’ll have 60 minutes of bad karaoke, compared to the current 10 minute versions." Then, I made the connection.

Would you rather pay $2-5 to rent the latest blockbuster movie online, or would you rather put up with a few ads and get to watch it for free?

As long as YouTube chose ad formats that didn’t look like commercial-breaks–maybe "smoke" overlays or 90 seconds of ads before the movie–it could quite easily make enough money to keep movie producers happy, and YouTube users supplied with free films.

What do you think? Does YouTube have a different plan? Would you watch the latest blockbuster with ads, if it meant you watched for free?

  • http://www.otlacan.com Otilia Otlacan

    I think this will really intensify the efforts to monetize medium and long video content. Most providers of such type of content (think of Joost, for example) don’t seem to have found the holy grail on how to properly drive revenue from their sites. This, in addition to the fact that the online video advertising industry is a wild, unregulated jungle in terms of specs and standards, will probably open doors to many changes.
    Curious to see if the IAB will hurry to provide updated recommendations and hopefully standards for in-video advertising.

    Otilia Otlacan’s last blog post..Microsoft Gets Ahead in Video Advertising Through the YuMe and Navic Deals

  • http://www.jozsoft.com/blog/ Joe Hall

    Full featured movies on Youtube would be awesome, and that might be Google’s plan but I highly doubt that it will happen anytime soon. In my opinion the movie industry has taken the slow road to realizing the true potential of the internet that you just described with the Youtube example. A great example of how they are hindering innovation would be the choice of films on Netflix “Watch Instant” option. They are mostly all movies that NOBODY wants to see anymore. I would say that if Google signs a deal with any movie house it will be for low demand budget films that aren’t going to attract large audiences. Or at least that’s the way it would be for awhile.

    Joe Hall’s last blog post..RE/MAX is the most searched for Real Estate company on the internet.

  • http://foolishmumbles.com Top Rated

    I would definitely watch movies that way. I think, it would give even more incentive to the big movie makers to make quality movies. The more views, the higher their revenue. This could also potentially cut down on all the bittorrent illegal downloading of movies as well. I’m a little skeptical, that the movie makers will bite though.

    Top Rated’s last blog post..Absolutely The Best Point And Shoot Digital Camera

  • http://www.mbwebdesign.co.uk MB Web Design

    Sounds like a sure-fire way to cripple the business model of most ISPs offering “unlimited” broadband packages, at least here in the UK.

  • http://www.propdata.co.za/ Robert

    Still a long way away. I’ve got one of the better residential internet packages at home and it’s hard capped at 3GB… would I get a movie for that? Not a HD blockbuster, that’s for sure.

    Until more of the world has unrestricted broadband access I don’t see this being feasible. But who knows what the future holds?

  • http://www.deemx.com DeeMX

    This is the step to uploading HD movies in YouTube!