Internet search giant Google's video-sharing website YouTube is in talks with various Hollywood movie studios for launching a global "pay-per-view" video service by the end of this year, a media report said.
The report in the Financial Times stated, "Google's YouTube video site is in negotiations with Hollywood's leading movie studios to launch a global pay-per-view video service by the end of 2010."
Attributing to several people with knowledge of the situation, the report stated, "Google has been pitching to the studios on the international appeal of a streaming, on-demand movie service pegged to the world's most popular search engine and YouTube."
Google would use its search technology and YouTube to direct viewers to the new service, which is likely to launch first in the US, with other countries added over time, the report cited the people close to the matter as saying.
Negotiations have been ongoing for several months, but have taken on greater urgency in recent weeks, amid increasing competition between media and technology companies over the digital delivery of film and TV programming, FT said.
IT giant Apple is this week expected to unveil improvements to its TV device, which connects living-room sets to the internet, and eventually hopes to open the device up to "apps" developers.
Netflix, the film subscription company, is aggressively acquiring digital rights to movies for its streaming service, while Hulu, the online video site owned by Walt Disney, News Corp and NBC Universal, is planning a USD two billion initial public offering.
In Google's proposed service, viewers can stream rather than download the films and pay about USD 5 for newer titles.
"The movies would be available at the same time as their release on DVD and on Apple's iTunes store and Amazon.com, meaning Google could count on recent box-office hits to power the service," the report added.
YouTube said it had been beta-testing a film rental service since January and Google has been searching for a breakthrough since acquiring YouTube for USD 1.65 billion in 2006.