Google to turn off video sales, rental service

Focuses attention on YouTube, ad-supported model

Google will no longer offer users the ability to download-to-own or download-to-rent (DTO/DTR) videos on Google Videos effective Wednesday, a Google spokesman confirmed Monday.

Google opened its Google Video store in January 2006, allowing users to buy and rent a wide range of videos including sports, television, news and movies. The price of the videos ranged from US$1.99 to US$20. While the paid portion of the site will close, the unpaid portion of Google Video will remain on the site.

"Both Google and YouTube are exploring a wide variety of ways to monetize online video content -- from pilot testing AdSense for video syndication to trying various ad formats on YouTube -- and the early results have been very encouraging," said Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker in an e-mail to Computerworld. "Reaffirming our commitment to building out our ad-supported monetization models for video, we have decided to remove the DTO/DTR feature on Google Video."

Google announced it would acquire YouTube in a stock deal valued at US$1.65 billion in October.

Stricker said users who made purchases on Google video or DTO/DTR before July 18 will receive credit to their checkout accounts in the amount equal to or exceeding the amount of their original purchases. He said users who made purchases after July 18 will get direct refunds to their credit cards.

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