Google's YouTube will take another step towards becoming a full service online video outlet on Friday with the scheduled release of what it referred to as a "small collection" of movies beginning with five films from last year's and this year's Sundance Film Festival. They include The Cove, One Too Many Mornings, Homewrecker, Children of Invention and Bass Ackwards and will rent for $3.99 each. (They must be viewed within 48 hours of downloading.) The website, which accounts for the lion's share of online video viewing, nevertheless loses hundreds of millions of dollars annually, according to many analysts. On its website, YouTube addressed independent feature filmmakers, saying, "Making content available for rent will give our partners unprecedented control over the distribution of their work -- they can decide the price of their videos and the rental duration. They can decide when and where their content is available; and they can keep 100 percent of their rights." Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported that another popular video site, Hulu, is planning to charge users to watch episodes of certain popular TV shows. Citing people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said that a "firm pricing model" could be announced within six months.
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