Is YouTube about to become the new Netflix?

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the popular video site has teamed with the Sundance Film Festival to promote watching movies on its site, including 'The Cove,' which won Best Documentary at last year's fest.

YouTube will reportedly offer five indie film titles that will be available for streaming for a "a day or two," at $3.99 per flick. Senior executives from Google, which owns YouTube, are attending Sundance to persuade filmmakers and distributors that their movies should also be available for streaming rental, and are pushing to strike financial arrangements that will seal some deals. Is YouTube about to become the new Netflix?

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the popular video site has teamed with the Sundance Film Festival to promote watching movies on its site, including 'The Cove,' which won Best Documentary at last year's fest.

YouTube will reportedly offer five indie film titles that will be available for streaming for a "a day or two," at $3.99 per flick. Senior executives from Google, which owns YouTube, are attending Sundance to persuade filmmakers and distributors that their movies should also be available for streaming rental, and are pushing to strike financial arrangements that will seal some deals.

Currently, YouTube logs about a billion page views a day. The challenge has always been turning those page views into actual income. The Reporter cited a survey from last September indicating that 43 percent of consumers who watch videos online wouldn't be open to paying even a few dollars to do so. The total market for online movie watching is a mere one percent of the total rental market, compared to half of movie renters who still use retail stores and the 13 percent who prefer video-on-demand.

YouTube is targeting Sundance due to its indie, outside-the-mainstream cache. The question remains how and when YouTube will ink deals with the major Hollywood studios, and whether it will be able to offer them at the same time as retail stores and sites like Netflix. YouTube will also have to work through the consumer-demand side as well and demonstrate why it is now the best way to pay to see a movie.

Sound off: Would you pay to watch movies on YouTube?
CATEGORIES Movies