Google targets UK for YouTube movie streaming

Google is planning to bring a subscription-based movie streaming service to the UK according to a report in the New York Times.

YouTube, which is owned by the search engine and Internet advertising virtual monopoly, is set to break out of its current market of ad-sponsored free clips of musical cats and testicle-crunching skateboarders to offer a subscription-based movie streaming service backed by some of Hollywood's biggest players, according to the US newspaper.

Google has apparently earmarked $100 million to tempt film makers to sign up to the service and has made a number of recent acquisitions, including Seattle-based DRM outfit WildVine, with the addition of ex-Netflix exec Robert Kyncl adding credence to the claims.

But the company will have its work cut out convincing movie company bosses to buy into an outfit which has consistently rubbed the film industry the wrong way with its lax attitude to copyright infringement.

YouTube currently has limited deals to show some movies free of charge but box-office blockbusters are conspicuous by their absence.

Google is said to have been in talks with studios for months now and a limited launch in the UK and other European countries could be seen as a test bed for wider international launches.