The massive video-sharing website has met with Hollywood executives in recent months to negotiate licenses, according to the Journal, which cited anonymous sources. YouTube plans to use the licenses to beef up its subscription service, which costs $9.99 per month and allows users to skip ads.
It remains unclear as to which film or television properties YouTube wants to lock down, and the Journal described the licensing talks as being in their early stages.
The online video business is booming, with global revenue expected to nearly double to $51.1 billion in 2020 from an expected $26 billion in 2015, according to research firm Digital TV Research.
Subscription-based models are becoming big money makers in that market. Digital TV Research expects them to overtake advertising-based revenue by 2020.
YouTube is mainly an ad-supported business; it launched its subscription service, called YouTube Red, in October.
Read the full Journal report here.
Disclosure: Hulu is owned by a joint-venture between Comcast's NBCUniversal, 21st Century Fox's Fox Broadcasting and Walt Disney's ABC. NBCUniversal is the parent of CNBC.