It can often be that I’m the last to know or to find out.  I recall a mention a while back that full-length movies were going to be available in the United States on YouTube.  I do recall having a discussion with a friend about using a proxy to get around this limitation for non-US addresses and the ensuing debate.

I was reading this article yesterday about the rumours of a planned bankruptcy of Blockbuster, thinking about how much this industry has changed.  Our local video rental store has just gone through its closing motions, selling off its inventory of movies.  Rumblings are heard that Apple is going to rent movies for $.99 through iTunes.  There is a selection there now, but at a higher price.

But, movies through YouTube is somehow more intriguing so off I go to see what was offered.  It wasn’t quite what I had expected.  In fact, I was kind of reminded that the titles were like the second movie of a double feature at a drive-in.  I couldn’t exactly find the HD version of “Avatar”.

But, I did find some zombie movies and decided to give it a go.  I had to log in to prove that I was over 18.  Apparently, zombies do some things without clothes on or to people without clothes on or something.  I lasted about 10 minutes and virtually walked out and started looking around.  

I found an eclectic selection and some titles that I remembered from the deep recesses of my memory.  “Night of the Living Dead”, “Invasion of the Bee Girls”, and even “Reefer Madness”!  But, no “Avatar”.  Since the movies are streamed for no charge, I’m guessing the selection is available because of pricing or abandonment of copyright claims.

Aw, but there is a classic.  “The Best of the Three Stooges”.  That wouldn’t be family viewing around our house but rather one of the little delights that I would partake.

But, there would be a nice niche for these types of movies.  For example, I really like the classic Charlie Chan movies.  I like all of the Chan actors.  Whether it’s Warner Oland, Sidney Toler, or Roland Winters, I can watch these over and over.  There are plenty of clips in the regular YouTube selection but, alas, nothing in the movie section – yet.  I can only hope.

The terms and conditions for use of YouTube content remain a concern.  Section 4C still indicates that you’re expected to stream the content through the YouTube player.  That does pose a problem if you want to watch a movie on an airplane though.  The terms and conditions may make sense for watching the 2-3 minute shorter clips but seems impractical for full-length movies.

But, if Blockbuster is making the effort to reinvent itself, let’s hope that YouTube does the same thing.  I’m hoping for an expanded collection (please get the Chan movies) and a download to mobile device to make the whole concept more workable.



  1. I’ve become a fan of redbox lately, which unfortunately isn’t available in Canada yet. Movie rentals are $0.99, and you can return the movies to any redbox outlet, not just the one you rented from. What makes it even more convenient is that redbox outlets are showing up all over — grocery stores, drug stores, Macdonalds, heck even the local Walmart near where I often stay has one.

    Until bitcap restrictions are loosened or eliminated, the rental of DVDs will still be a thriving business. But my bet is that the Blockbusters of the world will lose out to the redboxes.


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