Earlier today, news broke that Netflix is officially bigger than Comcast or any other cable provider in the United States. We all knew that this was bound to happen, but how soon it has happened surprised quite a few people. In the near future, cable providers will be reduced to mere suppliers of dumb-pipes, as consumers with busy schedules will begin to rely almost exclusively on streaming content provided by the likes of Netflix. Apples knows this, as does Google.
Apple jumped into the game a few years back by expanding its iTunes store. Google joined in last year, by adding a rentals section to YouTube (for US users only). However, YouTube video rentals has failed to make much of an impression. In fact, most people aren’t even aware that YouTube has a section for renting movies and television shows.
The main limiting factor for YouTube has been its tiny and uninteresting catalog. However, that might be about to change. According to TheWrap, YouTube has inked a deal with several big studios, including Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Brothers and Universal. Fox and Paramount are apparently still not onboard. However, YouTube should now at least be able to expand its catalog beyond niche and old movies and television shows.
YouTube is expected officially announce the expansion of its video-on-demand service within a couple of weeks. Exactly how much of a competition it is able to offer to iTunes and Netflix will depend on multiple factors, including the success of Google TV, and Android tablets. If Google can make the process of purchasing and viewing content from different devices seamless, then YouTube rentals might just manage to become a household name like Netflix and iTunes in the near future.