Report: Google in talks for movie rental service

YouTube's fledgling movie rental program may soon be getting some Hollywood muscle in the crowded fight for domination of digital movie and television content distribution.

YouTube-parent Google is negotiating with major Hollywood studios to stream movies from their catalogs on a pay-per-view basis by the end of the year, according to a report in the Financial Times.

The service is expected to stream movies on demand for $5 each, according to the report, which cited sources with knowledge of Google's plans.

A YouTube representative declined to comment, saying: "We have nothing to announce at this time." … Read more

Report: Apple prepping 99-cent TV show rentals

Apple could be on the verge of giving users the option to rent television shows from its iTunes Store.

Citing "people familiar" with discussions between Apple and News Corp., Bloomberg reported Tuesday that 99-cent TV show rentals are being talked about. Users would have to watch the shows within 48 hours of purchasing the rental, according to the report.

The rental system sounds very similar to the one Apple uses for movie rentals on the iTunes Store, where users have a specified amount of time to watch the rented media before it expires.

Bloomberg also says Apple is … Read more

Droid 2 on deck

Links from Wednesday's episode of Loaded:

Verizon and Motorola announce the pre-sale of the Droid 2, which will run Android 2.2 (Froyo) and Flash 10.1 and comes with a pull-out keyboard.

Netflix sign a deal with Paramount Pictures, Lions Gate and MGM to stream their films 3 months after they air on paid television and rentals.

BlockBuster adds game rentals to its service, which brings it into direct competition with GameFly.

Hong Kong jumps into the 3D world with pornography.

Apple in Japan will replace 1st generation iPod nanos that overheat.

Unable to beat Netflix, Blockbuster swats at GameFly

Blockbuster has decided to take on GameFly by offering over 3,000 video games in its By Mail offering.

According to Blockbuster, its mail service will now offer games for every major console, including the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii, as well as titles from the original Xbox and the PlayStation 2. It was quick to point out that, unlike Netflix, it's the only company that delivers customers the option to rent movies, television shows, and games all in the same package.

The company isn't charging any more for the service by adding video games to … Read more

Redbox rolls out Blu-ray rentals

Redbox, which has rented more than 880 million DVDs since its inception, is now starting to offer Blu-ray rentals at some of its 23,000 kiosks, the company announced Friday.

The company didn't provide too many details on its Blu-ray rentals. A new Blu-ray page is displayed on the company's site, saying simply that the company now rents the format. It also has a search box where users can input their ZIP codes to see if Blu-ray films are available in their area.

According to a Twitter update sent out earlier today on the official Redbox account, the … Read more

Netflix to stream some first-run movies

Netflix has signed a long-term agreement with Relativity Media to stream first-run films from the movie studio and financier, the companies said Tuesday.

The deal will allow Netflix subscribers to stream the movies online a few months after their DVD releases but during what is traditionally known as the "pay TV window."

Relativity, the studio responsible for "Get him to the Greek" and "Grown Ups," says it produces or finances 20 to 30 new movies each year. The first of its films to be made available through Netflix streaming will be "The Fighter&… Read more

Blockbuster stock to be delisted from NYSE

Blockbuster's stock will no longer be available on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) starting next week, the company announced in a statement Thursday.

The issue, according to Blockbuster, started in November, when the NYSE contacted the company and informed it that because its shares had an average price of less than $1 over a consecutive 30-day period, it was in danger of being delisted from the market, if it couldn't find a remedy at its annual meeting in May. Since then, the company's stock price has stayed below $1 per share.

In an attempt to save … Read more

Thumb war on texting while driving

I would like to give two thumbs up to the thumb sock. Although I wonder if it is too hot to wear thumb gloves now that summer is upon us?

Sure this is gimmicky. And silly. And certainly it wouldn't hinder texting on a phone with physical keyboard phone. But it may serve as a reminder that texting on the road is lethal. And stupid. Don't do it.

Other stories from Monday afternoon's episode of Loaded:

Best Buy launches its Netflix competitor to stream movies and videos

Apple updates the MacBook

Hotmail gets a little hotter with… Read more

YouTube will let some users charge for rentals

YouTube's fledgling movie rental program will soon be taking an interesting twist: some content owners will soon be able to use a "self service" tool to charge for access to their videos, product manager Hunter Walk said this week in an interview with MediaPost.

Few details are currently available--none about revenue sharing, none regarding what kind of flexibility content owners will have over pricing, and no final timetable--but it's an interesting move on behalf of YouTube parent company Google, as it competes with Apple and Netflix for the growing online-video rental market.

YouTube first delved into … Read more

PayPal wants your start-up

After revealing at Demo the winners of its Developers Challenge, PayPal had a consolation prize for the companies that didn't win the award: the company is announcing a funding project for new apps builders. Participants in the PayPal Startup Accelerator Program can get not just funding, but space at the PayPal building as well as access to PayPal's marketing muscle.

Given the inevitable growth of competitive payment technologies (see Square), it's smart for PayPal to encourage companies to build on its platform in whatever way it can. And let's not forget: Doing a start-up on a … Read more