Jan 22, 2010 at 03:40 PM
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YouTube Partners With Sundance Film Festival

According to some experts, Google is banking on pay per view movie rentals to take You Tube to profitability. You Tube lost a surprisingly low $200 million last year according to a recent report by the Huffington Post. In order to make the PPV model profitable, YouTube will need strong content partnerships.

Enter Sundance. In a continued effort to grow the audience for independent films, Sundance Institute today unveiled a partnership with YouTube to make available for rent three world-premiere films from the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Beginning today, films will be spotlighted on the YouTube homepage, after which they will also be available until January 31st at YouTube Movies. Two audience favorites from the 2009 Festival will also be made available for rental.

John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival said, “It has been our goal this year to find opportunities for our filmmakers by linking them to our technology partners and YouTube has been a great sponsor and partner. The You Tube commitment to independent film is aligned with ours at Sundance. This begins a new age of connecting our artists directly to audiences.”

The YouTube Screening Room, which is debuting short films from the festival, is presented by Verizon.

The New York Daily News writes that the partnership is part of YouTube's broader strategic move into the movie rental market:

"The Google-owned YouTube so far has offered a wide collection of free video clips. Now YouTube is inviting some of its partners into the new rental service and will let those it selects have a say in where they’d like content to be available and the rental price of their video."

2010 Sundance Film Festival sponsors include:

Presenting Sponsors—Entertainment Weekly, HP, Honda and Sundance Channel;

Leadership Sponsors—American Express, Bing, DIRECTV, G-Technology by Hitachi, Southwest Airlines and YouTube

Sustaining Sponsors—ABSOLUT VODKA, Blockbuster Inc., FilterForGood, a partnership between Brita and Nalgene, L’Oréal Paris, Sony Electronics Inc., Stella Artois, Timberland and Utah Film Commission.

According to the Sundance Institute, the 2009 Festival was attended by over 40,000 visitors, generated an overall economic impact of a record $92.1 million and generated over $18 million in media exposure.