Starting tomorrow, YouTube will offer video rentals, according to a post on the site’s official blog. The first available content will be five films from the 2009 and 2010 Sundance Film Festivals, and they will be online until January 31.
Instead of taking on Hulu, iTunes, and Netflix directly with offers of high-profile Hollywood films, YouTube seems to be positioning itself for a different audience of moviegoers and filmmakers. According to the blog post:
While YouTube has offered an easy and economical way for filmmakers–as well as content creators of all kinds–to instantaneously connect with fans around the world, many of them have told us that the ad-supported business model doesn’t always meet their distribution and monetization needs. […] We’re also excited to put out the call for more independent filmmakers to join the rental program as part of our “Filmmakers Wanted” campaign at the festival.
Exact details of how the rentals will work aren’t yet available, but the company says they will post more tomorrow. It has said, however, that money will be collected through Google Checkout.