Independent filmmakers have been critical contributors to our platform ever since we launched our site, almost five years ago. In that time, we’ve increasingly come to understand some of the challenges facing these filmmakers: technology has made it easier and cheaper than ever to produce films; more films have led to more competition for audiences; more competition for audiences has led to more films needing massive marketing budgets to cut through the clutter. And these high costs have made it difficult for independent films to compete, leaving too many films going unseen.
While YouTube has offered an easy and economical way for filmmakers -- as well as content creators of all kinds -- to instantaneously connect with fans around the world, many of them have told us that the ad-supported business model doesn't always meet their distribution and monetization needs. And so, we are excited today to announce our partnership with the Sundance Film Festival to make five films from the 2010 and 2009 festivals available for rent for U.S. users on YouTube starting this Friday and running through Sunday, January 31. In addition to these five films, a small collection of rental videos from other U.S. partners across different industries, including health and education, will be made available in the weeks ahead. We’re also excited to put out the call for more independent filmmakers to join the rental program as part of our "Filmmakers Wanted" campaign at the festival.
These are early days and in the coming weeks we'll also invite a small group of partners across other industries, in addition to independent film, to participate in this new option. Anything that brings more content to the YouTube community is a good thing. And 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% of their rights.
But enough talking! You want to watch movies! To prepare for Friday's debut, take a minute to set up your Google Checkout account and watch the trailers below to decide what to rent. On Friday, we'll post another blog to walk you through how to find and start watching some of these independent films.