This morning in my Google Reader feeds were two stories about movies now being available for free online viewing, albeit for a limited time:
First, after a bit of (obvious) teasing on Twitter yesterday, YouTube has the original Ghostbusters on its site for seven days.
Second, Hulu has Zombie Girl: The Movie (a documentary about a 12-year old girl shooting a zombie flick with other teens) available for a week.
Let me make this statement beforehand: I’m a fan of both of these sites. I love YouTube and not only have killed hours of productivity watching “LEEEROY JENKINS” and cracking up everytime but have also watched a couple movies and other professional content there. I also love Hulu since it not only is a great way to watch movies but, in terms of TV programming, it’s exactly the sort of “roll your own” network I’ve always wanted.
But the difference between the two movies is reflective of where the two outlets are right now. Where YouTube is using a mass-appeal classic to draw attention to the fact that it can work with studios to feature their films, Hulu is actually coming off as the more assured and entrenched player, now able to feel comfortable not only offering “30 Rock” and “Lost” but also movies that are going to appeal to a very select portion of the audience.
I know YouTube has made inroads along this path as well – they debuted a new Wayne Wang movie last year that lacked theatrical release – but right now it feels like they’re still playing catch-up, still in the process of building credibility with the people they want to be partnering with.
I think it’s great that both of these movies are now online for their own respective reasons. But those reasons are very different and very indicative of where each player is right now.