For those who have never had the pleasure of seeing Rebecca Black’s viral YouTube video “Friday,” chances are that last’s night’s homage to the song on Glee went right over their heads. But there comes a time when even the most stalwart fans of such YouTube classics as “Keyboard Cat” or “The Ultimate Dog Tease,” want a little haut couture every now and then. Even they want a more highbrow experience watching Little Fockers or Despicable Me.
Fortunately, YouTube has responded to their requests. The site is now offering movie rentals with an average cost of $2.99. The company has already loaded up about 3,000 movies from Universal, Sony and Warner Bros. Some of the films even come with cast interviews or alternative endings, adding to the viewer’s total film experience.
Many of the films are new, but there will also be some classics like Taxi Driver, for people who are tired lying about having seen it just to impress their friends. There will even be some indie and foreign films, some for as cheap as 99 cents, though the big hits could come in at $3.99.
What’s behind all this? Sure, YouTube and its Googly overlords want to take on Netflix, with its “Watch Instantly” selection. Perhaps even more, it wants to take on Facebook too, which is also offering a handful of films, or maybe even Apple, which is advertising that you can watch Inception on its new iPhones.
The real losers here are the big theater chains, which must now offer IMAX and 3D just to keep their audiences coming.