YouTube is Not Going to Beat Netflix at its Own Game

By fsantikpul / / So… YouTube is looking to steal some of Netflix’s thunder, and it is doing a terrible job at it. YouTube is now expanding it’s offering of rentable movies to nearly 3000 choices for prices ranging from $2.99 to $3.99. One problem is the visibility of this campaign. Raise your hand if you were aware that they were trying something like this at all… When I think Movies on YouTube, I think of old Animated films broken down into fifteen parts with titles like “The Ar1stoc4ts”, I don’t exactly think of sitting down to watch the latest blockbuster release in a tiny box in my browser. Another issue is the quality of these videos. They are uniformly in standard definition, despite YouTube’s ability to dispense HD material, and Netflix’s ever-expanding HD offerings. Finally, there’s the price. Against $7.99 for full access to Netflix’s digital archives, these prices don’t seem reasonable. Hell, against RedBox’s $1 physical rental booths, these prices don’t seem reasonable. It’s one thing on iTunes, where you then get a digital copy that you can put on any of your devices, but a thirty day amorphous rental deal is simply backwards. And I doubt people will respond to it. If Google wants to leverage YouTube’s ubiquity on the web today to get more money, they’re going to have to be smarter than this. YouTube isn’t the place for long-form streaming video. People aren’t looking for it there, and so people won’t bump into it there. Most of the time someone goes to YouTube, they’re looking for something specific, and then access video after video from the right-hand column. If you want to get people to use a Google-Run rental site, you’re going to have to build it from the ground up. And hell, it’s not like people wouldn’t be interested in what a Google designed Netflix rival might look like, but a movies page on YouTube that nobody knows exists is a nonstarter.