YouTube, which became the world's most popular video website by providing an outlet for amateur user-generated clips, is now officially expanding into streaming full-length movies online for rent.
Although the Google video upload and sharing site had experimented with long-form video in the past, it formally entered the online movie rental market on Monday.
Over the coming weeks, YouTube will offer users in the U.S. only thousands of major Hollywood productions, letting people watch movies on its site and competing with Netflix, Amazon and Apple, which all focus on renting long-form movies and TV shows.
Titles available on YouTube include "Caddyshack," "Goodfellas," "Scarface," "Taxi Driver," "Inception," "The King's Speech," "Little Fockers," "The Green Hornet" and "Despicable Me," all at what Google describes as "industry standard pricing."
Google expects the addition of full-length movie rentals to complement YouTube's core strengths and help keep users on the site for longer periods of time.
"You're finding more and more of the content you love on YouTube, which is now available on 350 million devices. We know this because you're watching videos to the tune of 2 billion views a day. But you're spending just 15 minutes a day on YouTube, and spending five hours a day watching TV. As the lines between online and offline continue to blur, we think that's going to change," wrote Salar Kamangar, YouTube chief, in a blog post.