Pass the popcorn; YouTube is launching movie rentals

SES London 2008 - Ian Baird of Hitwise

Image by SESConferenceSeries via Flickr

A couple of days ago, YouTube announced that it was going to begin testing movie rentals starting today with movies from the Sundance Film Festival. Well, Heather Dougherty, the Director of Research at Experian Hitwise has taken a look at how 10 million US Internet users interact with more than 1 million websites and shared these findings with Search Engine Watch readers:
* Last week, YouTube ranked 6th among all websites in the US and visitors spent an average of 25 minutes and 25 seconds with the website.
* YouTube ranked second behind Momo Mesh for websites that receive traffic from the search term ‘movies online’ for the 12 weeks ending January 16, 2010.
* Last week, among all of the search terms that drove traffic to YouTube, 2179 included the word ‘movie’ or ‘movies’, although 291 also included the word ‘free’.
* There are many competitors to the new service offering from YouTube including NetFlix, Apple and Amazon. However, in general, NetFlix has become synonymous with movie rentals online and appeared three times in the top ten search term variations of ‘movie rentals’ for the 12 weeks ending January 16, 2010.

So, pass the popcorn. Tonight, I’m going to watch “Old fangs,” one of the short films debuting at the Sundance Festival that you can watch for free in the YouTube Screening Room. Then, I’m going to check out one of the feature films. Maybe “Nowhere boy,” which chronicles John Lennon’s difficult teenage years in Liverpool during the 1950s, before the world changed John, and before John changed the world.

Nowhere Boy Official Movie Trailer 2009

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