Google is opening up a new revenue model with Youtube, renting videos. All the pieces are already in place, except the last and arguably most important. They need to get content producers to agree to use Youtube as a platform to sell their content. With a huge audience, and consequently good money making potential, that should not be to much of a problem.
"The Google-owned video site debuted online movie rentals today on a very limited basis, allowing users to rent five different flicks from the Sundance Film Festival using their Google Checkout accounts."
"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. 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. 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.
These are early days and in the coming weeks we'll also invite a small group of partners across other industries, in addition to independent film, to participate in this new option. Anything that brings more content to the YouTube community is a good thing. And making content available for rent will give our partners unprecedented control over the distribution of their work -- they can decide the price of their videos and the rental duration; they can decide when and where their content is available; and they can keep 100% of their rights."