About a week ago we talked about how Disney movies were going to be available for rent on YouTube, and everyone rejoiced at the affordable ease-of-access of Disney’s library that the deal would bring. But, it won’t be as low as a 99-cent rental, because of concerns that the low price would affect “sell-through,” or the amount of copies consumers actually buy. If you want Disney movies on YouTube, you’ll have to shell out at least another dollar to rent one of their titles. Yeah, I know, the sky is falling. You might never rent a Disney title at those rates.
Rentals, Sell-Through, & UltraViolet All Factoring Into Rental Price
The Disney spokesperson in the Home Media Magazine article says that the price for Disney titles “would not be available for less than $1.99 — the least amount charged for the studio’s titles on iTunes.” For instance, you see Cars 2 for rental on YouTube at $3.99. I know for some that’s probably a deal-breaker, but it makes me wonder how small does the rental have to be before someone says, “Why buy it when I can rent it?” I guess there are studies that show that people who buy movie titles only watch it X amount of times, and if given the opportunity to “rent at will” for a cheap price, they’ll do that over buying it.
YouTube has been offering premium titles in a 24-hour window at 99 cents, such as Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, but that is apparently a limited-time promotion. Indeed, you can see all the other Harry Potter films on YouTube for $2.99, so it’s only a matter of time before that title follows suit.
Warner, along with Universal Pictures and Sony, started making their movies available to YouTube over the summer, but they are also part of the UltraViolet initiative where people can buy the digital licensing rights to titles. Disney has their own in development called Keychest. So, there’s concern that a video site like YouTube providing really cheap rentals could undermine those projects.