×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

YouTube To Allow Video Rentals

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the viral-rentals dept.

Movies 215

poopdeville writes "Starting Friday, Google and YouTube will allow movie rentals. The first five films available to rent through YouTube will cost $3.99 for a 48-hour viewing period. Movie studios will be able to set their own prices, with rental viewing windows ranging from one to 90 days. YouTube will get an unspecified commission from each rental. Barclays Capital analyst Douglas Anmuch expects YouTube to generate about $700 million in revenue this year, an estimated 55 percent increase from 2009. If YouTube hits that target, it likely will turn profitable, helping to justify the $1.76 billion in stock that Google paid for the site more than three years ago."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

215 comments

flat rate? (-1, Redundant)

mxh83 (1607017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844032)

Is it a flat rate for all movies? Cause you can get quite a few movies at local supermarkets at like $2-5.

Re:flat rate? (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844132)

The summary, 3rd sentence: "Movie studios will be able to set their own prices, with rental viewing windows ranging from one to 90 days. "

Re:flat rate? (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844138)

If you RTFS! it says, at the end of the first line for god's sake: "Movie studios will be able to set their own prices" But this is slashdot. Ho Hum!

$2-$5 ? (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844154)

The largest supermarket chain here rents most DVD's for $1.

Re:$2-$5 ? (3, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844168)

The largest supermarket chain here rents most DVD's for $1.

Not everywhere. To rent a first run movie is about $8 AUD overnight for me, and I have to walk to the video library where it might be out. An older movie is $5 AUD for one week.

Re:$2-$5 ? (2, Interesting)

ibwolf (126465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844262)

The largest supermarket chain here rents most DVD's for $1.

Not everywhere. To rent a first run movie is about $8 AUD overnight for me, and I have to walk to the video library where it might be out. An older movie is $5 AUD for one week.

I'm sure that is correct. I'm also (reasonably) sure that this will only be available within the US.

Re:$2-$5 ? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844294)

Wow ... the entertainment industry in Australia sure know how to bleed people dry. Reminds me never to move there ... that and the hot weather ;)

Re:$2-$5 ? (4, Informative)

smallfries (601545) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844330)

Which is nice for you, but everybody lives in a different market. It seems unlikely that I will be able to use this service as I use a non-windows O/S in a non-US country, but if they do offer this properly then I have three choices :
1. Walk 100m to a video store, rent a dvd for 2 euro a night. As a bonus I get to cache a rip of the dvd in case I want to watch it again.
2. Download a CD sized compression of the dvd. That takes about an hour on my connection on a popular torrent. The disadvantage of this is the illegality - and I don't really care about the legal/civil distinction as the odds of being busted for this are a million to one where I live. What does bother me is that the people who made the movie don't get any payment for their work.
3. So now there is (maybe) an online rental option. So it will be more expensive (2.66 euro is unlikely so we will end up with either 3 or 4 euro). Like option one some money is going to flow back to the makers so I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside while I watch the movie. Like option two the codec is probably going to piss me off while I watch the film.

So which will win? It's not a total ordering because cost is not the only criteria. Option two wins on cost and picture quality. Option three wins on getting revenue back to the creators. For now option one is my preferred compromise, but if the codec on option three is acceptable and it works here then I'll probably switch.

(The option of keeping a copy for a longer viewing window is irrelevant for me - I rarely watch a film more than once).

Indie films. (5, Interesting)

Cheney (1547621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844050)

I hope that this will be a useful distribution and money-maker for Indie films.

Hopefully, it won't be stifled by the big studios.

Re:Indie films. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844388)

Hopefully, it won't be stifled by the big studios.

If wishes were ponies, I'd make salami.

In other words: yea, right.

As a 49 year old feminist grandmother (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844064)

I think streaming free video to every last person in every last 3rd world hellhole without any discrimination to socio and/or economic status etc... wasn't such a great thing to pay billions of dollars for. Would anything actually be worse for them if they blocked YT access to gutter economies that don't generate them any pennies? Having said that, this help keeps their name everywhere and familiar with people since this is one of the most used sites in teh world so maybe it does have some value.

Europe? (2, Interesting)

s1lverl0rd (1382241) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844070)

TFA doesn't say anything about where the service will be availible. Will I and my fellow Dutchmen be able to use it?

Re:Europe? (-1, Troll)

anss123 (985305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844334)

Better yet, do we euros get 29.97 FPS or lame 24.947 like usual.

Re:Europe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844398)

You realize PAL is lower framerate but higher resolution...right?

No thanks (3, Insightful)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844090)

More expensive than renting a physical DVD either at my local store or Netflix -and- I have to provide the bandwidth as well...no thanks. (note: in Aus we don't get unlimited bandwidth, I'm on 50gb / month at present)

Re:No thanks (1, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844166)

It's cheaper to buy a pizza in a pizza shop than have it delivered. You're paying for convenience.

Re:No thanks (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844172)

In this case he is also paying the moped and the fuel so I guess he has a point in there.

Re:No thanks (1)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844192)

But what will this convenience be worth if the material is in low resolution, or with notable encoding artefacts?

Re:No thanks (1)

ami.one (897193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844196)

Not always. Some places with high real estate costs price the takeaways cheaper than dining in rates.

Re:No thanks (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844248)

I was about to say, most of the places around here will deliver for free if you spend a decent amount on food...

Re:No thanks (1)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844302)

Unless you're a total tool you've still got to tip the dude delivering the food if you get it delivered...

Re:No thanks (5, Informative)

iangoldby (552781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844320)

you've still got to tip

Depends on the culture where you live. In many countries a tip is for exceptional service. It isn't part of the wages.

Re:No thanks (4, Informative)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844346)

Unless you're a total tool you've still got to tip the dude delivering the food if you get it delivered...

Tipping is a US cultural thing I believe, it's not quite as common in other parts of the world where workers actually have to get paid a proper wage. In fact in some cases it's quite rude to tip, although I can't imagine a delivery guy being offended under any circumstances :)

Re:No thanks (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844210)

Not really, most places around here simply have a minimum order for delivery, they won't deliver a single small pizza but if you order a two medium pizzas or a single large pizza they'll happily deliver it at the same cost as they and others charge for eating in the pizzeria or picking it up.

I have seen a couple of places that had a "If you order for less than $AMOUNT then there's an extra delivery fee" thing, but those places that I've tried have been pretty crappy.

/Mikael

Been there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844314)

I know what you mean. Here in Norway, Ive ordered takeaway twice now in the last week (been years before I did that).
The store had two delivery prices depending on the amount of order (as fuel is expensive in Norway as it should be).

Order 1:
Pizza (veg) has almost no taste. Day after my stomach still has the pizza in digestion mode. The coke was good though ;-)

Order 2:
Indian (veg), mostly consisting of boiled peas and carrots mixed with a generic masala. Worst indian dish Ive ever tasted (and Ive lived in India!).
The apple-cake, worst apple-cake I EVER tasted. Its like artificial, something u might buy at the grocery store and they label it "cake", but it isnt.
This one was about 10 times worse than those. It just tasted like artificial and paper-mache or something. I seriously looked several times to try to find the paper..
The coke was good though.

I dont usually complain, and I know take-away can be crappy sometimes, but this is just living and breathing to the stereotype as much as possible. Seriously,
if they delivered decent food I might order from them later, especially if delivery is free. Now, forget it.
The place is called: Just-Eat btw, to be avoided like the plague.

Moral of the story:
Always order Coke, and youll be happy.
Avoid the store when they are crappy.

Re:No thanks (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844342)

A proper comparison of going to a video rental store vs. online rental would be: he delivered pizza cost 50-100% more, you have to pay the delivery car+fuel on top of that and it would only come with 50% of the toppings.

Re:No thanks (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844358)

It costs them less to provide the service online. Each buyer provides part of the infrastructure. They avoid the expense of disks not returned, disks damaged, paying staff and maintaing kiosks. Fewer employees are needed per transaction to sell the product.

If it costs less to provide the price should be fall accordingly.

Pizza on the other hand costs more to deliver.

Re:No thanks (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844374)

Actually, here in the UK that's not generally the case, unless you include the "10% off on collection" and similar offers you sometimes get - but then of course you can't use any other offer at the same time.

What you do tend to get is a minimum order price for delivery, but with the prices of the pizzas that's never been an issue for me.

Re:No thanks (2, Interesting)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844602)

Actually, here in the UK that's not generally the case, unless you include the "10% off on collection" and similar offers you sometimes get - but then of course you can't use any other offer at the same time.

What you do tend to get is a minimum order price for delivery, but with the prices of the pizzas that's never been an issue for me.

I've never seen (in the UK) the "10% off for collection" negated by other deals, because it's not a "deal" as such, in the way that "Thursdays: 2 pizzas for the price of one". They knock 10% off because not delivering is a genuine saving for them.

What Americans don't understand is that for food delivery, the closest we'd typically come to tipping in Britain would be "keep the change" if the total was just below a round number.

Re:No thanks (3, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844544)

But those services that can be digitized, is normally cheaper online. Take my online bank for example, no fees whatsoever for doing things online. Do anything in a physical bank here in Norway these days? Expect a 1-5$ fee depending on what you're doing, and I'm not talking about any special service either. The iTunes store is much cheaper than retail CD stores. Online shops are in general much cheaper than retail sites, even if it's real goods sent by mail. The only reason pizza delivery costs extra is because they can't ship it out of a big server farm or warehouse, they must have people near you on duty on time to make it, which makes it cheaper to have everyone in the area come to you than you coming to everyone in the area. There's absolutely no reason an online movie store should cost more, except that the copyright holders got a monopoly on it and can set prices at will.

The real issue they have is that people overestimate how much distribution costs. Pressed CD/DVDs are cheaper pressed than burned, jewel/DVD cases cost very little in bulk and that printing press will print covers way cheaper than your home ink printer. What costs is shelf space in high-priced central retail shops, going with an online store the overhead is really quite low and the amount of unsold goods also much lower, unlike the retailer who sometimes have to do real bargain bin cleanouts that they have to take into their margins. Or maybe they underestimate how much a data file is, when it's not a tangible object. All the costs that went into production and marketing are already sunk costs, that 100,000$ scene doesn't become a 50,000$ scene just because you get it online rather than on a cheap plastic platter.

Quite frankly, I was hoping something like iTunes Plus would come for video (1080p/no DRM) or something like Spotify for music would take off, but so far the closest thing is Voddler which is nothing but a GPL-violating bandit shop (check their forums, and the comments on the allegedly "answered" questions) so I don't imagine there's much hope.

Re:No thanks (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844562)

It's cheaper to buy a pizza in a pizza shop than have it delivered. You're paying for convenience.

If they were deliverying DVDs to your front doorstep, you might have a point. Delivery pizzas has a cost to the business - assuming its their own car - car itself, car insurance (more expensive for businesses than personal use), gas, wages. Convenience costs there because they have costs providing it to you.

Here, the costs are minimal. Convenience itself shouldn't add to the cost of a product, it should be a way to get people to a) consume more of it or b) outdo your competitor. Cost of "convenience" is at play with food/drinks at ballparks, airports, movie theaters, and convention centers where they gouge you for every little thing. It may not be the vendors themselves since they have high costs operating there but then it's the venue itself. It doesn't make me want to go there all that much. In fact, I avoid those spots.

Now, $3.99 for 5 movies should be nothing to bitch about for 5 movies. I assume your OP didn't read the summary correctly, that's cheaper than redbox. Of course, I assume Avatar and the like won't be included...

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844648)

Uh the summary gives no indication that you are getting 5 movies for 3.99. In fact it reads more like there will five titles available initially for 3.99 each.

Re:No thanks (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844202)

Bandwidth won't be a problem for you in Oz; if Hulu is anything to go by (and I think it is) there's slim-to-no chance that this service will be available outside the US anyway.

Re:No thanks (1)

kamikazearun (1282408) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844422)

Hulu is ad supported. Youtube is charging money. Hulu finds it profitable to discriminate because some regions bring them less ad revenue than others. Youtube on the other hand will profit equally from countries other than the US.

Re:No thanks (1)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844656)

Quite right, I can't get Hulu here (without presumably some proxy fun and games) so doubtless Netflix will shaft us too. Amazon is the same with their so called download service. Regardless, the point stands, it's more expensive and locks up the bandwidth, and uses up your allocation if you're capped. Wonder if you get the extras too, or just the main film?

Re:No thanks (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844312)

This is cheaper than pay-perview which would be the same type of audience.

Myself, I am waiting for my Wii netflix cd. I hate early advertising because it hurts my need for immedite gratification :(

Re:No thanks (3, Insightful)

Turzyx (1462339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844660)

Why the hell should I use my bandwidth AND pay for the privilage? I get capped at 2mbit for 4 hours if I download more than 1GB during peak time.

It is refreshing to see alternative business models being marketed to the movive/music industry, but these schemes really need to involve the ISP if they are to suceed, especially since as internet usuage increases, availible bandwidth decreases - and they aren't going to upgrade the networks any time soon.

Oh yeah, and if I pay to download a duplicate that only costs the supplier a fraction of wholesale fibre-time, I better be able to keep the copy.

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844668)

note: in Aus we don't get unlimited bandwidth, I'm on 50gb / month at present

Come on, you serious?
I'm on 50GB too and i would gladly use this service.
50GB is A LOT of data.
Do you actually use all your bandwidth each month to justify the cost of paying for it?

And really, how many films would you actually consider watching in a month?
It is going to be a while before any studios consider putting older films up there. (At least i would think they'd rather try out their newest and greatest first to bring people in to it first, then progressively add older ones)

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844688)

More expensive that redbox(1 dollar), costs more than netflix which for less than 9 bucks I can dl all the movies I want. Less than many movies on demmand now. It seems like a big zero.

International Viewing? (2, Informative)

sofakingon (610999) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844096)

I hope they allow people to use this service outside of the EU/US... I HATE not being able to use Hulu or Netflix or most of the Boxee services here Korea.

Re:International Viewing? (5, Funny)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844150)

I don't hate it. I just read 'This service is not available in your country' as 'Please use Bittorrent'.

Re:International Viewing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844274)

I just read 'This service is not available in your country' as 'Please use Bittorrent'.

That's what every commercial tells me to do. And every bathroom urge. And every important scene/phrase I miss, but can't rewind and watch again.

Add to that, the immorality of creating artificial scarcity to begin with, based on the false premise that creativity will somehow be stifled if we don't.

On "creativity needs funding" (1, Interesting)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844348)

Add to that, the immorality of creating artificial scarcity to begin with, based on the false premise that creativity will somehow be stifled if we don't.

Making a two-hour film takes a significant amount of time out of many peoples' lives. Why would we expect people to do that if they're not paid?

Making music is (comparatively) cheap, and an easily accessible hobby. So is making software. Recording music can be done fairly easily because you don't need to pull that many people together, and you can pay your way out of not being a good recording technicians. The maintenance and evolution of software can be distributed (initial creation is more debatable).

Making films doesn't seem to have the same advantages that music and software does.

I'm not advocating any particular policy based off of these observations---I'm trying to say that if you expect people to create films for free, you may be disappointed at the volume and/or quality of output.

But let's say most copyrighted stuff makes most of its money in the first three(/five/ten) years after publication. Maybe that's a good argument for shortening the duration? And maybe different kinds of works should have different restrictions and durations, due to the economics of their creation?

Re:On "creativity needs funding" (-1, Troll)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844694)

Making a two-hour film takes a significant amount of time out of many peoples' lives.

Perhaps, instead of turning "story telling" into a profession and telling everybody what may and may not be copied, while manipulating public opinion, these people should find real jobs like the rest of us.

Re:On "creativity needs funding" (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844720)

Who said that we were going to stop paying people to make these things? We are talking about the idiotic and insulting attempts that these companies are undertaking to create scarcity where there is none. Times have changed, technology has changed, and it is time for the movie and music companies to update their businesses; instead, they are trying to use the law to move us backward, so that the computer capable of processing a thousand songs at a time is reduced to a glorified phonograph player.

I certainly do agree about shortening the duration of copyrights. The US constitution requires copyrights to have a finite length, but lobbyists for media companies simply convince congress to extend that duration by 20 years ever 20 years. We no longer see copyrighted work enter the public domain during the same generation it was created; it now skips three generations, and the copyright lobbyists are still not satisfied (I think they hate the constitution, since it limits copyrights and fails to mention profits).

Re:International Viewing? (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844332)

I don't hate it. I just read 'This service is not available in your country' as 'Please use Bittorrent'.

I agree. You might try tor for things like Pandora (Google "tor + Pandora"). If you were desperate for streaming US video, you could also try international VPN services.

Re:International Viewing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844712)

international VPN services.

they block it now...

Re:International Viewing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844156)

Well that's true for the EU as well.

Re:International Viewing? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844180)

Huh, we don't even get Hulu in the 51st State, USS Great Britain. I think there's slim-to-no chance of the YouTube service being available outside the US.

Re:International Viewing? (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844220)

Us europeans pretty much always end up with the short end of the stick as well (when it's american companies providing the service, at best they'll provide their service to the US + UK (+ maybe France) but mostly it's just the US), but like Tanuki64 I just interpret Apple's silence regarding tv episodes in the iTunes store and Hulu's refusal to allow us swedes to use their service as "Please use Bittorrent".

/Mikael

Re:International Viewing? (2, Interesting)

lordholm (649770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844268)

Apparently, licensing in the EU is horrible since collection "agencies" only have mandates in their home state and cannot issue licenses for use in other states. The upcoming commission have promised to patch the system so that an EU-wide license can be granted without any fuss, but as expected the national collection "agencies" are upset... I say "agencies" within quotes since they are normally set up as a company.

Re:International Viewing? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844360)

I don't understand. What do you mean by states? We don't really have those in Europe. Do you mean countries? If that's the case it seems obvious that one country can't issue licenses for another. It's like asking why Australia would issue licenses for the USA. Or have I misunderstood what you meant?

Re:International Viewing? (3, Insightful)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844674)

I think he meant state as in 'Nation State', not in the US sense.

His point about the EU is likely valid, though. There are rules that imply "all for one" when it comes to certain things like border crossings, prices, etc. I could see where licensing agreements should/would/could span the whole EU instead of being issued to individual member countries.

Re:International Viewing? (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844356)

Why France?

Just curious. :)

Re:International Viewing? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844442)

Big country, big market. Simple as that.

You already see it with shows and dubbing. You'll get shows dubbed in French and German, but rarely in Polish or Dutch. (except maybe kids shows). Everything else is subtitled.

Swiss residents so far benefitted from having a larger audience that just happens to speak the same language (French, Italian or German), so they got their dubbing "for free" because it was already done. It won't work for such deals I'm afraid where not the language but the country is the bar to overcome to benefit from it.

Re:International Viewing? (1)

paziek (1329929) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844326)

I really doubt that it will be available outside US. Look at other products where Google needs some kind of deal with other company in order to provide service:
Nexus One? No Sir, you can't buy it.
Google Voice? Sir, you must be kidding. Only the Chosen Aryan race can have it, and that would be US residents.
On YouTube there is even certain polish band, with we in Poland can't watch, since their distributor doesn't allow that... beat this.

As a side note, I'm trying for a few days now to legally buy a certain song made by The Guild, but every site I come by says, its not available in my region, or - usually - its only available in US. I pretty much asked their distributor if I need to pirate it in order to have it, wonder what they say.

It really feels like companies treat people outside of USA like second rate humans, and for that (and many others) I came to extreme hate towards USA.

Re:International Viewing? (2, Funny)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844400)

This may be THE reason for muslim terrorism. Maybe US can fix the situation by dropping some porn over Iraq and Afghanistan?

They have plenty of porn (2, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844554)

My brother in law, while on patrol, found that the universal constant of Islam is that every devout terrorist has a giant porn collection, and then will stand there and deny that it is his.

I'm curious about bitrate, codec and resolution (1)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844134)

Anyone managed to find any info? If this ends up in the vicinity of what most of us are familiar with as mpeg-4 asp (or "divx/xvid" as most people erroneously call it) at around 640*352 of ~1mbps bitrate, then it is soooo not worth my pennies... Actually, if it's around that resolution, I'm not throwing money on it even if it's done with a good h.264 encoder.

Re:I'm curious about bitrate, codec and resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844474)

They'll use a format with readily available drm, so I'd expect it to be Windows Media.

Piracy, the better choice (1)

Meneth (872868) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844152)

Re:Piracy, the better choice (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844490)

This is the sad truth. I said it before a million times (even to the IFPI and other organisations, but they refuse to listen): Legal merchandise has to have a higher customer value than counterfeit or stolen goods.

It works for real goods and thus there's a thriving market for it. If you buy the "real deal" brand item, you get more than what you would get if you bought the knockoff. If I buy a genuine intel CPU, I get warranty. If I buy a genuine nVidia video card, I get support and downloads. Essentially, if I buy "honestly", I get more out of it than what I'd get from something that fell off a truck.

With content you not only do not get more from a legit purchase than you get from a copyright infringing copy, it's even worse. You get less from the legal copy than you get from the illegal one. When I download content from P2P networks, I can freely choose how to use it. I can put it on my server and stream it to the TV. I can extract soundbits or video snippets without loss. With music, I can convert it in any format I please and put it on any arbitrary MP3 player, play it in my car stereo or, again, put it on my server and stream it anywhere. In theory, even the net if I so choose. Technically, there are very few limits of what I could do with the content. This is not true for legally bought content. I cannot (easily) transfer the movie to my server for streaming, I have to use specialized software to do that rather "simple" task. I might have to go through a lot of hassle to create a copy of the audio CD to put it in my MP3 player and, unless I plan to use possibly illegal software to do so, I could end up with a loss of quality in the process.

The key problem is that legal content often has less value to me, as the consumer, than content ackquired through illegal means. That is the core problem today with content. And unless that's solved, more and more people will reach for the illegal channels. People enjoy having convenience. They want their stuff to "just work". And if the only way to get "just working" stuff is by P2Ping it, they will do that instead of buying. They would buy, no doubt. Because it's easier and more convenient. But they're learning that buying does not give them "just working" stuff.

Re:Piracy, the better choice (2, Funny)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844630)

I said it before a million times (even to the IFPI and other organisations, but they refuse to listen): Legal merchandise has to have a higher customer value than counterfeit or stolen goods.

But they do. Pirated movies are all fuzzy and unclear, have bad sound, and frequently include footage of someone a few rows in front getting up to go to the toilet.

I know this is true, because they told me in the unskippable advert at the start of the last DVD I rented. Why would they lie?

Re:Piracy, the better choice (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844680)

There was a recent 60 Minutes segment about copyright infringement, and it was nothing short of propaganda. The segment started with some details about how Mexican drug cartels are starting to sell illegal DVDs, and some FBI analyst spoke about how this is part of an attempt to diversify from drugs and child prostitution. Then, a sudden switch to a discussion about Bittorrent, with no attempt whatsoever being made to explain that Bittorrent does not support child prostitution, and a wrap up interview with a director talking about how nobody is going to make a movie like The Matrix until people stop downloading.

If it sounds like "two minutes hate," well, the only significant differences I can think of is that it was a 15 minute segment and there were no sheep involved.

Re:Piracy, the better choice (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844642)

Frankly, I am not all that opposed to paying for music and movies. What I am opposed to is paying for music and movies, and then finding out that I cannot play it on my device of choice, or that my operating system is not supported, or that at some point there will be an attempt to prevent me from playing the media unless I pay again. I do not want to lose access to the movie I paid for because someone claimed there was a copyright issue, even if I get my money back.

"Renting" digital media is the most ludicrously stupid concept I have ever heard of.

Preemptive response (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844174)

Before some one brings up the ending of the article, DVDs and Blu-Rays are very profitable, remember this, a large number of films loose money in their theatrical release. DVDs are often the profits to a film but at times they are counted on to return principal. I was involved in a film last summer and it was hoped with distribution costs that it would break even in the theater but we couldn't count on that and similar films had only gone into profits towards the end of the initial DVD sales. It's not always about greed it's often just trying to get the investment returned. The goal is really to break even on most films and hope some are breakaways that do big numbers to make up for the ones that loose money. Sure everyone would love each film to be a hit but most actually do loose money. If they had to count strictly on theatrical and rentals then easily half the films wouldn't get made in the first place. Take away theatrical and go all rentals and most of the hit films wouldn't get made because they'd never have a hope of breaking even. This is the panic Hollywood is in over their future. Theatrical numbers may drop like a rock, ticket sales have been eroding for years it's only increased prices that have kept the numbers up. Without theatrical and DVD sales the average studio film would be effectively the same quality as a TV movie. That may be the future no matter what they do.

Re:Preemptive response (1)

salarelv (1314017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844214)

Maybe the studios should pay Tom Cruise less money for his pretty face? If the movie's don't get even why the actors and big bosses are living in huge mansions and driving in limos?

The big question for me is ... (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844256)

... are they counting the Linux market as part of their revenue stream?

Re:The big question for me is ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844376)

Yes, that's where the last $4.99 comes from.

Flash makes this a no go (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844260)

Not just purely from a "flash sucks, it's not open, OSS for ever!" point of view. Lack of decent hardware decoding make full screen HD 1080p videos totally unwatchable on my 6 month old macbook pro, I dread to think how older hardware handles it. Even 720p is enough to make flash choke some times.

If Google to make to the move to HTML 5 this might be viable, but even then, the price needs to offer better value (compare it to the PSN store, which lets you keep videos for far longer, for about the same amount)

Re:Flash makes this a no go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844428)

Flash has great hardware decoding these days actually... on windows.

Re:Flash makes this a no go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844692)

On my machine, the Firefox HTML5 demo video performs no better than Flash. Which is a definite improvement, because when the feature was first released, it performed significantly worse.

Interesting (1)

segedunum (883035) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844270)

Well, after my experiences with other such services - DRM attempts that just slow things down and stop it working or Silverlight with SkyTV in the UK (which is OK but isn't any better than showing video through Flash) - if YouTube and Google can be sensible about that not working then I'd happily pay some money to watch a film occasionally for convenience.

My spending on DVDs will still be higher, but if they get it right then I would happily pay to watch a film online for the first time ever - if they get it right that is.

The bigger news is that Youtube may make a profit (1)

magloca (1404473) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844276)

According to TFA, analysts expect Youtube to turn a profit this year. And, while it's not entirely clear, it appears that these analysts made this prediction before news of video rentals came out.

Whatever happened to Google Losing Up To $1.65M a Day On YouTube [slashdot.org] ? And where is their revenue coming from, anyway? Can they really make that much from the relatively few ads they have, or is Google engaging in a little creative bookkeeping to make it appear that Youtube is doing great? Why would they do that?

This will get interesting... (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844318)

Considering that tons upon tons of people already use YouTube, I wonder how badly this will affect Netflix...I, for one, look forward to this.

And thanks to Big Content... (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844336)

I will likely not be able to view any of them here in Finland.

(Not to mention that my Ubuntu desktop might not support whatever DRM they mandate.)

Price is good, but... (0)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844354)

The first five films available to rent through YouTube will cost $3.99 for a 48-hour viewing period.

$3.99 isn't bad for five films, but 48 hours isn't really enough time to watch them, unless you're hosting a movie marathon.

Re:Price is good, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844424)

$3.99... each?

Re:Price is good, but... (1)

johnreedaw (1681774) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844426)

Be careful with those movie marathons, RIAA (or your local equivalent) might get you to pay a fee for it...

Re:Price is good, but... (1)

srothroc (733160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844436)

I don't think it's five for $3.99, but rather, there are five films that will be the first released for rental via YouTube and each of the five will have a rental price of $3.99.

Re:Price is good, but... (1)

twoshortplanks (124523) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844440)

I suspect that's meant to be read as "Google will be charging $3.99 for *each* of the five films that will be available on launch"

Yeah, there needs to be DRM (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30844402)

Just go look at IsoHunt for a new movie and see how many leechers and seeders there are you fucks. You've *proven* you can't be trusted. Stop acting like piracy doesn't exist.

48 hours (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844444)

Implies some pretty nasty DRM.

No thanks; but for several times that price, I might pay to download a video I can play permanently.

Re:48 hours (2, Interesting)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844700)

Depends how they do it. Sky let you rent or 'buy' [sky.com] episodes of House at £1.50 and £2 per pop respectively. That doesn't sound bad, and given that pretty much the only things me and the wife watch on Sky that we can't get on Freesat (free to air satellite) are House and Bones then it might work out cheaper than our Sky bill, even if we buy them.

The down side is that "buy" doesn't seem to be buy. It seems to be a still DRMed perpetual rental, so I'm getting the worst of buying (higher price and not replaced if I lose/delete/damage it) with the worst of renting (I could at any point get screwed over by the DRM crapping out or Sky's service disappearing, and I can't use it as I want).

Oh, and it seems to run on Silverlight as well and require Media Player 10, or something.

First five films (4, Informative)

Spyware23 (1260322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844472)

Bit more info on the first five films, taken from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8471635.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Summary: The first five films come from the Sundance Film Festival. The service will go live on 22 january, for US citizens only. The first five films available for rent are "The Cove," "Bass Ackwards," "One Too Many Mornings," "Homewrecker" and "Children of Invention."

Interesting excerpt from the BBC article: "Content providers will be able to set their own prices, with YouTube taking a cut of the revenue. All but one of the Sundance films is being offered for $3.99 (£2.50) each for users to watch over a 48-hour viewing period."

There are just 2 questions: (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844508)

Location and limitations

Where do you have to be and what limitations will there be imposed? What countries will be able to use that service, and what software setup is required for their DRM to accept my box as a suitable viewing device? Can I stream it from my box to my TV (let's be honest, who wants to view a movie on a 19" screen when they have a 44" with Dolbi surround and all the jazz?)?

That's basically what will make or break it.

What comes around... (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844628)

So now we have DIVX (not the codec, the video rental plan) without the disk, and without the embedded security of the DIVX player.

Cracked in 5, 4, 3, ....

Is this US only? Like HULU and all those? (2, Interesting)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844714)

And will they make it available to small indie movies too?

There are MANY movies I have wanted to see, but the distribution channels just don't exist.

One recent film festival (Fantastic Fest, Austin 2008 I think) allowed you to stream the movies being showcased at the festival from anywhere in the world. It was great. I saw some excellent documentaries I would never have had the chance to see otherwise.

(Like the very disturbing "I think we're alone now" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1152828/ [imdb.com] )

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...