Google's budding entertainment empire continues to grow — today, the company announced that nearly 500 movies from Paramount Pictures will be available in the coming weeks for rental on both YouTube and Google Play. This deal means that Google now has content from five of the six major motion picture studios, with Fox being the lone holdout. Prices are similar to what Google's already offering, with some rentals starting as low as $1.99, though newer HD films are more typically priced at $4.99 (just like in iTunes). Seeing more content added to Google Play is not surprising, but it's definitely noteworthy to see YouTube continue to transform from a purely user-supported site to one that offers professionally produced content for purchase or rent.
While it's a coup for Google to have a content library that's close to matching that of iTunes, it's a little unexpected to see Paramount throw in with Google. Paramount has its own video rental site that also recently started selling UltraViolet digital movies, and Paramount parent company Viacom has been embroiled in a lawsuit with Google over allegations that YouTube is breaking copyright laws by hosting Paramount content. Nonetheless, it seems Paramount recognizes value in having its movies available through Google's platform — we'll see if Fox comes around to that same realization.