A partnership between YouTube and the Sundance Film Festival, which saw new and year-old fest selections made available to rent through the Google-owned video site, seemed a disappointment early this year. But YouTube still sees potential in such a distribution model and will now open the rental fee option to its general users, according to MediaPost(via Mashable). An exec told them engineers are currently working on a self-service initiative through which fimmakers can upload their work and rent it out for an undisclosed (if it will even be standardized?) price. Might this be an eventual threat to Netflix as the better way for independent filmmakers to reach a large audience?

Users have already been making money for years through the site's YouTube Partnership Program, which shares ad revenue with members, many of whom are popular enough to make a living uploading videos on a weekly basis. More recently, "one-hit wonders" have also been able to reap rewards via the Individual Video Partnerships, so suddenly hot viral clips like "David at the Dentist" can garner submitters financial gain in addition to their 15 minutes of fame. But most of these moneymakers are short subject videos and feature-length submissions may not be as successful, either with ad share or rental models.