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YouTube Opens Movie Rental Store

10:10 AM -- YouTube Inc. has quietly opened its movie rental store without so much as a press release.

The store, at youtube.com/store, offers rentals that range from recent big hits like Precious (Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire) to mangas, Bollywood flicks, independent movies, and documentaries. The top rentals at the moment are 3:10 to Yuma, Precious (Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire), and Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, whose popularity may have resulted from being spotlighted on Oprah yesterday.

Rentals range in price from 99 cents to $3.99, and in rental period -- from 24 hours to 72 hours. Rentals are paid for through Google Checkout.

Of course, YouTube's catalogue is still short of its competitors', and the streaming rentals don't give users the opportunity to watch offline (for instance, on an airplane) as download stores such as iTunes and others do. So the rental business might be a tough row to hoe for the site, especially considering consumers associate it primarily with free content.

YouTube originally tested out the rental market in January, when it offered users the opportunity to rent five films from Sundance. The films received only 2,684 views combined and netted YouTube just $10,709.16, but YouTube claimed to be happy with the results.

— Erin Barker, Digital Content Reporter, Light Reading Cable

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