YouTube’s Rental Box Office Totals Flop

A figure that doesn’t seem to bode too well for paid content on YouTube: The video site grossed just $10,709.16 by renting five Sundance Film Festival movies on the site over the course of 10 days last week. Granted this was a very limited run with a select audience (movie geeks) — but at $3.99 each — that means only 2,684 films were paid for. In the annals of paid content efforts, that figure could well be up on the wall along with the 35 rich souls who were willing to pay for online subscriptions to Newsday.

Not so fast, says YouTube. A company spokesman tells the NYT — which first reported the number — that the experiment “exceeded our expectations given all the barriers.” Unsurprising: Those expectations were never made public. The company is however going ahead with its plans to add a “small collection of rental videos from other U.S. partners across different industries” as well as from other indie filmmakers.