The movie streaming market seems to be in full gear. Netflix has done extremely well with their streaming service for iPad and Apple TV. We’ve also heard how Redbox is planning to offer a streaming service, and the rumors seem to indicate that Amazon could be the one helping Redbox build the network to sustain the potential onslaught for movie streaming requests. Of course, Amazon’s new Prime service will not be too far behind.
How about Google? The company bought out Widevine back in December 2010 for a reason. They’re planning to release a large YouTube movie service possibly this year.
According to an article by the New York Post, Google’s YouTube service could be launched first overseas (UK and other places in Europe) as an unlimited subscription service for movies. This move would allow Google to avoid competition from Netflix, Amazon and others that have focused in the North American market initially. The rumors seem to indicate that the streaming service would later expand to the US.
This move will not only compete directly with Netflix, Amazon and Redbox, but it will also compete with Apple’s iTunes service. Both, Netflix and Apple, have a large lead in terms of streaming titles inventory and have established strong relationships with content providers. However, Google has secured $100 million for striking content deals with studios and other premium content providers. It’s evident they plan to expand the YouTube service and make it more than just a “homemade” videos site.
Let’s not forget either, that Google already offers a payment system called Google Checkout. And, the company recently announced their One Pass system, which allows third-parties to sell their content via Google. You could argue these systems would be the baseline for a movie service subscription system.
A point of contetion seems to be Google’s capability to provide secured services and a digital rights management (DRM) platform that will protect all that premium content. I’m sure movie studios are a bit nervous still. But, Google probably plans to address that with their Widevine acquisition, which comes with a video DRM platform. However, Google still needs to prove itself in this space.
As of now, no specific release dates have been shared for a YouTube movie service. But, with the upcoming launch of Motorola’s Xoom and other Android 3.0 tablets, we have to assume Google is desperate to compete with Apple’s empire.