YouTube considers fees for films

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Bill Radke: You may know YouTube as the go-to site for scrappy, homemade videos. Well, that may soon change. The Google-owned Web site is reportedly in talks with major movie studios about streaming films online for a fee. Marketplace's Sam Eaton reports.

Sam Eaton: Call it a win-win. Hollywood is seeing DVD sales erode faster than expected, and YouTube is seeking new ways to make money beyond its core advertising model. That's what's driving negotiations between YouTube and studios like Lions Gate and Warner Brothers.

Offering fee-based movie rentals online is nothing new -- iTunes, Amazon.com and Netflix have done this for some time. What is new is YouTube's vast audience. YouTube has garnered about 40 percent of the online video market. That means studios could potentially reach many more viewers by offering movies on the site.

The test will be whether YouTube's millions of users will shell out cash for studio movies, rather than just watching another free clip of a piano-playing cat.

In Los Angeles, I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.
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The piano playing cats are shown on a screen less than one quarter the size of my browser window, which itself is much smaller than my PC screen. Will paid content be shown on the same tiny screen?

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