YouTube is entering a whole new world–with Disney!

YouTube is entering a whole new world – with Disney. Last week, YouTube and Disney entered a deal to bring Disney, Disney-Pixar, and Dreamworks movies to YouTube’s movie rental service. Some hypothesize that this decision is an attempt to put another nail in Netflix’s coffin, since Netflix is struggling to maintain their customer base after their recent price change. But, Google hasn’t done much serious promotion or advertising of YouTube’s movie rental program, and the service remains confusing to some Internet users today.

YouTube began offering customers a streaming rental service in January 2010. However they had a large relaunch in May 2011 after stagnant sales and stagnant traffic. The relaunch brought Universal, Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers and other independent studios to the rental service, totaling the movie titles available for rent to over 6,000. Disney is adding hundreds of their titles to YouTube’s services over the next few weeks. Prices vary by how recently the movies were released (the older the movie, the cheaper it is to rent) varying anywhere from 99¢ to $4.99. In line with how the rental system was working prior to Disney joining, TechCrunch explains that users can purchase a rental, and have 30 days to begin watching it. But once the movie is started, purchasers have 48 hours to finish it before the film is no longer available to the viewer. Also, to rent a movie, customers must have a YouTube account. Aside from the U.S. and Canada, YouTube’s rental service extends to the U.K. as well. Additionally, rentals can be watched online, on an Android phone, on an Android tablet, or even on Google T.V. (although Google T.V. only works in the U.S. and Canada).

Want to share your rental? You can! . . . sort of. The rented video can be embedded into another site (like Facebook, Twitter, or your blog) but if a user that hasn’t purchased the rental tries to view the video, it will show a trailer for the film and an option at the end for the non-renter to rent the video from YouTube. As for the quality of the videos, YouTube says that is up to the movie companies providing the movies to specify what resolution they want to stream in. Most movies are simply offered in standard definition. However, in an effort to provide something new for their users, YouTube’s movie watching experience will offer viewers extra video of cast interviews, alternate endings, and behind-the-scenes clips, exclusive to YouTube.

Not only does Disney want to bring their movies to YouTube for rent but the pair is also hoping to create “family-friendly original series.” The content is reported to not only be Disney inspired but YouTube user inspired from different family-friendly YouTube channels currently creating content. The first of hopefully multiple series is set to launch in February 2012, featuring the illustrious hero, Swampy and based on an already existing Disney mobile game “Where’s My Water.”

On a related note, YouTube began streaming certain sporting events in March 2010. The two-year deal specified that YouTube would stream 60 cricket matches for the Indian Premier League to every country but the U.S. In 2010, YouTube broadcasted 60 matches over a 45 day period, live, from a dedicated YouTube channel.
Certainly YouTube is stepping into more and more markets, and is able to do so because of their astronomical success with their original video sharing model. With new ventures like streaming sporting events and renting movies, their success is determined largely by the partners they can gain through these endeavors. Picking up Disney as a movie rental colleague is undoubtedly only going to garnish more success for YouTube.