Google Play 'considering movie sales'

Published Mar 23 2012, 12:49 GMT  |  By

Google Play screenshot

© Google

Google is considering a plan to sell copies of movies on the Google Play market, it has emerged.

Google Play, previously the Android market, currently just offers films to rent, such as the US remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and British hit film Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

However, CNET reports "multiple sources" in the film industry as saying that a download-to-own option is being seriously considered by Google bosses.

The sources said that the major Hollywood studios, such as Universal and Warner Bros, would most likely have stipulated the purchase option as a condition of offering their content on Google Play.

One industry insider told CNET that the download-to-own option could launch on Android devices as early as the summer.

A Google spokesperson said that the company does not comment on rumour or speculation.

Google overhauled the Android Market two weeks ago to create a unified content platform under the umbrella Google Play. Alongside apps and film rentals, the Google eBookstore and Google music were also folded into the new service.

The US firm has previously struggled to gain the same conversion of consumers accessing the store and then actually making a purchase, compared with Apple's iTunes.

This is thought to be due to the series of different services and payment methods on the Android market, which often confused consumers and dissuaded them from going through with purchases.

Last week, a report emerged suggesting that Google was pressuring third-party developers to adopt its Google Wallet payment system instead of rival providers, in order to unify the way people pay for content on Google Play.

CNET's sources have said that the massive user base for Android devices could transform Google into a major film retailer with the download-to-own option.

The film industry is keen for online providers to push sales of movies rather than rentals, meaning Google Play could provide a strong distribution platform alongside iTunes.

However, Google will first need to improve the way it allows Android users to sync or stream their content from mobile devices on to television sets, as this will be a key factor in encouraging people to make a purchase rather than rental.

Yesterday, a new report revealed that UK broadcasters are worried over the growing influence of 'digital gatekeepers' such as Google, Apple and Facebook.