Google guns for share of Hollywood action

Suit-donning reps of internet behemoth Google are in the final stages of signing a deal with Hollywood’s main studios to stream feature films on YouTube.

According to the FT.com, Google’s YouTube will premiere its commercial movie rental service by the end of 2010, much - we believe - to the dismay of US streaming outfits Netflix and Hulu.

Despite YouTube’s massive following, the site has had little to offer Google in terms of revenues - some analysts pegging the resulting operational balance in the negative hundreds of millions of US dollars. Earlier this year Google partnered up with the Sundance Film Festival and began trialling a rental service (aka YouTube Rentals) with some of the hottest indie movies of the season... but it’s the obvious choice towards big Hollywood blockbusters that the company hopes will really rake in the dough.

Google execs laid out some ground rules for the upcoming service. Not content with having stuck us with Vevo channels – users will face the massive hurdle that is copyright and will see Google/YouTube restrict the features from being streamed outside the USA, in a first phase. So if you’re out of the US, you’re out of luck... something we furrinurs have become accustomed to.

Adding to this, you might have noticed that just over a month-and-a-half ago, Google announced it would make available native resolution video, enabling streaming resolutions as high as 4K (4096x2160, or 8.85MP if you’re counting), higher than most movie theatres and their puny 2K digital projectors. 4K is the new holy grail for digital projection and has become slowly available in some elite movie theatres around the world. It’s far from standard, but the possibilities for Google are huge.

You also can’t help but think that Google/YouTube will pull an Acme InstaTheatre card. The missing piece of the puzzle is what Google will do with said technologies and services and whether it will offer it as an alternative to the mainstream digital movie projection in cinemas.

Given some serious buffering and bandwidth, you’ll have movie theatres in the US hooked up to the ‘Tube in no time, we think. Real-time ad rotation, interactive intermissions and 2K/4K video on tap... sounds about right.

The rumour mill is already a-buzz with Sony and Apple revving up the PR machines to answer Google’s challenge on their lebensraum.

Stay tuned for an announcement from the Jobs Mob, later today.