YouTube is beefing up its roster of movies for “rent” online in the US to woo viewers away from television and take on booming Internet service Netflix.
“You’re spending just 15 minutes a day on YouTube, and spending five hours a day watching TV,” YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar said on Monday in a post at the Google-owned video-sharing Web site. “As the lines between online and offline continue to blur, we think that’s going to change.”
In addition to expanding its online movie roster, YouTube was increasing support for “partners” who create amateur clips that are attracting “TV-sized” audiences at the Web site, according to Kamangar.
Approximately 2 billion video views are logged daily at YouTube, which is available on 350 million devices, he said.
“Whether it’s short movie trailers, funny movie parodies or full-length blockbuster films, we encourage you to sit back and settle in to the YouTube movies experience,” Kamangar said.
Movies available for streaming as online rentals at YouTube had been mostly older titles, but the Google-owned technology firm has been collaborating with Hollywood studios to find ways to make fresh films available.
YouTube said that it is broadening its rental service at youtube.com/movies with new films from Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Universal, Lionsgate Films and “many great independent studios.”
“It is a natural progression for YouTube,” analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley said.
“Google recognizes that this is becoming a content war,” he said. “Netflix right now is the company to beat with regard to online video.”