Report: YouTube in talks with studios over movie rentals

Could YouTube become the next major online service to offer movie rentals? Maybe so, according to CNet News, which quotes a Wall Street Journal report as saying the Google subsidiary is in talks with movie studios over the possibility.

YouTube has reportedly been chatting with Lions Gate Entertainment, Sony Pictures, and Warner Bros. Entertainment—no Disney, Fox, NBC Universal, or Paramount so far. Still, the WSJ claims YouTube is indeed seeking "licenses to stream feature films on a rental basis."

A deal may be nowhere near, though. CNet adds that "one studio executive familiar with the talks" says discussions are "at best in the early stages," and they may be a sign of studios covering their bases more than anything. As the exec points out, a decent number of online services already offer movie rentals, so it only makes sense to talk to YouTube, as well.

Some movies from Sony and MGM are already available for free with ads on YouTube. However, CNet says movie industry sources believe that, to woo studios, YouTube needs to prove it can ward off piracy and offer more than just a cut of ad revenue.

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