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YouTube planning movie rental service

YouTube is launching a pay TV service that will stream premium movies for as little as US$2 (€1.37).

According to various press reports, the Google-owned video sharing website has already signed deals with studios including Warner Bros, Sony Pictures and Universal, and will launch a movie rental service next month. It will initially launch in the US only.

If it goes ahead, the move would be YouTube’s latest, and most dramatic, foray into the mainstream video space.  Two weeks ago, the site launched You Tube Live, its first dedicated streaming channel. Live events previously streamed on YouTube include President Obama’s first State of the Union address, Indian Premier League cricket matches and a U2 concert. This month has also seen press reports that Google was planning a major revamp of YouTube, including reorganizing the home page into a series of channels around specific interest areas, with about 20 of those channels featuring a certain amount of professionally produced original programming each week.

Warner Bros’ participation is the latest foray by the company into new media distribution. The studio has recently been carrying out streaming trials with Facebook. Warner Bros recently extended its electronic sell through and rentral service with the social network, making Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Inception, Life as We Know It and Yogi Bear available having previously offered The Dark Knight.