Friday, November 4, 2011
Round 1 Begins...Google May Take On Big Cable
On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google is working on a subscription-based cable-TV service, according to "people briefed on [Google's] plans." Google is currently building Google Fiber, an ultra high-speed broadband network in Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, and if the the Journal's sources are correct, the cable-TV service as well as a phone service will be added to this platform.
Google's Fiber project will bring Kansas City residents a blazing internet connection that is "100 times faster than what most people have access to today." Google hopes that its Fiber project will be up and running by early 2012. According to the Kansas City Star, the addition of TV packages to the high speed internet service would solve one of analysts' major concerns about Google's broadband plans, namely that people who are used to traditional cable providers' all-inclusive phone, internet, TV plans wouldn't be willing to trade all that for just high speed internet. If Google were building a service with the likes of Time Warner, Walt Disney, Discovery and other media companies, Mashable writes that Google “could not only sell subscriptions to the pay TV channels, but sell ads on those channels as well.
It would also put its video-on-demand services in a sweet spot, perhaps moving many of its video capabilities over to the streaming-video Internet side, rather than the conventional cable TV business model.” However, this is easier said than done. As VentureBeat points out: To become a full-fledged paid TV operator, Google will need more than a handful of partners on-board. Those negotiations may be difficult since many content providers spurned Google last year by blocking access to Google TV on their websites. The Wall Street Journal was unable to get confirmation about the TV service from Google.
The search giant's only statement regarding the rumor: “We’re still exploring what product offerings will be available when we launch Google Fiber.” Google isn't the only tech company reportedly making a foray into the television market. Last week the internet was aflutter with rumors about a Siri controlled Apple TV set, which according to The New York Times Bits Blog would be "the stuff of science fiction." But a physical TV set might not be all Apple has in the works. During a CBS earnings call on Thursday, CEO Les Moonves let slip that the broadcasting company had turned down an ad-based Apple TV service. According to GigaOm, CBS rejected the deal because Apple had proposed that the two companies share advertising revenue, rather than pay up-front licensing fees to CBS.