YouTube is to team up with the Sundance Film Festival to launch a movie rental service in the US.
The project will initially offer five films selected from the festival. The titles will cost $3.99 (£2.45) through Google Checkout and will be available as streaming views from 22 to 31 January.
YouTube said that it will also work with education and health groups to offer other rental titles.
The service is a first for YouTube, which has traditionally provided its content for free. Though not as extensive in its library size, the service could eventually find itself in the market with paid streaming film services such as Netflix and Apple's iTunes.
The company said that the aim of the service is to attract filmmakers who had previously considered the site's ad-sharing payment model as not paying enough.
"While YouTube has offered an easy and economical way for filmmakers to instantaneously connect with fans around the world, many of them have told us that the ad-supported business model doesn't always meet their distribution and monetisation needs," YouTube said in a blog posting.
"Making content available for rent will give our partners unprecedented control over the distribution of their work."
Specifics on a future expansion of the programme or international availability were not given, but YouTube said that it will continue to seek out partners and expand the rental service following the Sundance promotion.
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