Google is in talks with TV networks and studios to stream episodes of television shows for a fee on YouTube, Peter Kafka reports.YouTube wants to sell streams of individual episodes for $1.99 a pop. It would be akin to what Apple offers through iTunes, or Amazon offers on its site. The main difference: You can only stream the episodes, not download them.
If YouTube and the networks can work out a deal, it will be interesting to see how consumers react. Why would anyone pay to stream an episode when it was available at the same price as a download from Amazon or iTunes? (Which you can stick on your iPod, for example, or on your laptop to watch on a plane.)
Kafka reports YouTube and the TV networks are optimistic they can work something out, since deals like this already exist.
If YouTube pulls this off, it will be another part of its diversifying strategy. The site is testing pre-roll ads, working with Vevo, the music industry’s video site, and streaming plenty of professional content, in addition to all its user generated content.