YouTube To Offer Online Movie Rentals

Online video site YouTube is in talks with several major movie studios about renting movies to users by streaming the movies over the Internet according to a person familiar with the talks on Wednesday. It would mark the first time the world’s most popular video site would charge its users to watch videos.

YouTube, which is owned by Internet search giant Google Inc, has held discussions with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, Sony Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp, and Time Warner Inc’s Warner Brothers about online movie rentals, the person said.

In many cases, the movies would be available for rental for a fee in a system similar to Web rental programs from Apple Inc’s iTunes, Netflix and Amazon.com with newer movies. YouTube would likely charge a similar fee around $3.99 a rental.

YouTube, which is the world’s No.1 video website, currently offers video for free, on an advertising-supported basis. It currently has a range of archive movies, TV shows and promotional clips from the three named studios and other partners on its site.

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