U.K. gets YouTube rental service

Google-owned site makes more than 1,000 films available online

In yet another sign that the digital sphere in Blighty is picking up the pace, YouTube has launched its movie rental service in the country.

More than 1,000 feature pics — including “The Dark Knight,” “Reservoir Dogs” and “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life” — are now available for Brit consumers to rent via the Google-owned site, adding yet another prong to what is becoming an increasingly competitive VOD landscape in the U.K.: Amazon-owned Lovefilm, which has more than 1.6 million subscribers across Europe, is ramping up its streaming efforts and inking long-term exclusive deals with U.K. indie distribs, while Netflix is expected to arrive in the territory next year.

New releases are available on YouTube for £3.49 ($5.43), and older titles range from $3.87 to $5.43 to rent. Viewers can watch their selected title within a 30-day period and 48 hours after they have begun viewing it.

The company has inked deals with majors including Sony, Universal and Warner Bros and indie U.K. distribs such as Metrodome, the distrib behind “I Am Love” and Revolver Entertainment, which has released pics such as “Anuvahood.”

Blighty marks the first territory outside North America where YouTube has launched its rental service: early this year the company unveiled the service in the U.S. and Canada.

YouTube also has existing agreements with Brit broadcasters, including Channel 4 and Channel 5, to stream selected content in the U.K.”We’re happy to be working with partners of all sizes to bring more content to YouTube users,” said Patrick Walker, director of content partnerships for YouTube Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “We’re happy to be working with partners of all sizes to bring more content to YouTube users.”

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