Does it Really Make Sense to Rent Animated Content Via YouTube?

As The Hollywood Reporter mentioned last week, the Disney Studios is following hot on the heels of the interactive unit in partnering with YouTube to deliver content. Not original content mind you, but content nonetheless.

So the question is, why “rent” films via streaming? That makes little sense. Just let me buy the thing. It’s essentially the same cost to the studio either way, right? I mean I have to download a copy of the film regardless, and the bandwidth has to be paid either way, so why not just let me store it and re-watch it again and again?

Heck, why would I pay to watch it just once when I can hit up the bittorrents and download it for free and without restriction? What’s the difference then? If you’re charging a minimal amount to “rent” it, the marginal difference between making me pay for it and giving it away for free is minimized. The result is that, I, as a consumer, am likely to pick the method that delivers the best value; i.e. downloading the version that I can watch again and again.

I’m decidedly curious to see how this turns out. The last time major studios attempted a streaming “rental” business model, they charged people $30 a movie, and the whole thing fell flat on its face.

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