You knew the day would come . . . YouTube is testing its audience’s willingness to rent movies with five films screening at Sundance:
And so, we are excited today to announce our partnership with the Sundance Film Festival to make five films from the 2010 and 2009 festivals available for rent for U.S. users on YouTube starting this Friday and running through Sunday, January 31. In addition to these five films, a small collection of rental videos from other U.S. partners across different industries, including health and education, will be made available in the weeks ahead.
The price is reportedly $5 per film.
Some people will, most people wont pay to see these films. But I would assume that YouTube will gain enough validation for this model to push forward. Cut to three years from now: YouTube is a bona fide iTunes and Netflix competitor, available via TV (either directly or via many set-top boxes).
More pain for cable TV providers to look forward to. (And think about the ad targeting that Google will bring — already brings — to YouTube videos.)
Related: Hulu is likely to start its own premium-content, fee-based experiment soon as well.