The Wall Street Journal reports Google is in talks with the holding company that’s in the process of aquiring Miramax to license the digital rights to the studio’s entire film catalog. If successful, the films would be available two ways: Via paid rental on YouTube and, for older catalog titles, free to watch, with ads.
Google has been trying to sidestep into the film digital distribution business, a la Apple, Amazon and Netflix. So far, it hasn’t managed to make much of an impact, though. Its only significant partner is Lion’s Gate, which offers titles such as “Kick Ass” and “Precious”.
While this sort of deal would help Google’s streaming service, its impact on Google TV would largely depend on the ratio of rental to ad-supported titles. There are currently several paid streaming options on the service (along with many other platforms). Adding one more won’t be a draw that attracts fence-sitters – but if the deal results in new free offerings exclusive to Google TV owners, it could be the second wind the service needs right now.