January 6, 2006 4:00 PM PST

Google entering video-on-demand business

LAS VEGAS--Google announced a service Friday that will let people rent or buy downloadable videos online, including classic and contemporary CBS television shows and NBA basketball games.

With Google Video Store, which the company said will be "available soon" at video.google.com consumers will pay $1.99 to download and view, for an unlimited time, episodes from last season's "Survivor" series, as well as episodes of 300 older TV programs like "I Love Lucy," said Peter Chane, senior business product manager for Google Video. The announcement was made in conjunction with a keynote address by Google co-founder Larry Page at the Consumer Electronics Show here.

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Also for $1.99, people will be able to rent, for 24 hours, recent episodes of popular TV series from CBS like "NCIS," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "The Amazing Race," Chane said. National Basketball Association games shown on TV can be downloaded for permanent purchase within one day of broadcast for $3.95, he said. Classic NBA games will also be available.

Other content comes from independent film provider Greencine, U.K. TV network ITN and the producers of "The Charlie Rose Show," which is offering older shows for 99 cents each. The Charlie Rose content is not copy protected and can be moved to portable devices and Google Video Player for offline viewing. All the other available content is copy protected, and users will not be able to share it with other devices, according to Chane.

Google Video Store customers will make payments with a credit card through Google's account system, as they do with the Google AdWords advertising system and other Google services, he said. There will be no ads in the videos or on the video Web pages, though Google is looking into providing ad-based video in the future, Chane said.

Major content providers will get more than half the amount from each transaction, Chane said.

"We think this is an historic move for video," Chane said in an interview. "It's the first time content providers can distribute to a broad audience online."

Google has avoided the stumbling blocks that have kept video-on-demand from the PC, including developing a monetization model and methods that protect copyrights and prevent piracy, Chane said.

Also Friday, Google announced Google Pack, a software package that includes homegrown programs like Google Talk, the Google Toolbar, the Google Desktop, Google Alerts and the Google Video Player, as well as third-party software including the Firefox browser, anti-spyware from LavaSoft, Adobe PDF Reader 7, Norton's antivirus program, Trillian Instant Messenger and RealPlayer.

The Google Pack will be available for free download, and is designed to be easy to install, maintain and automatically update. The auto-update feature doesn't work on the Mac, but Apple offers a similar auto-update service.


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This could be a very interesting move on Google's part. I wonder which format the videos will be in? (I can think of one format they wont be in).

The Pay-Per-View approach seems a bit pricey, as do some of the other programs. I would love to see a future video war between Google and Microsoft.
Posted by naterandrews (256 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AOL will show classic CBS shows for free. I wouldn't pay for dumb reality shows.
Posted by paulsecic (298 comments )
Link Flag
Who needs Divx?????
MPEG-4/h.264 is already available. And where in the article is Divx
even mentioned?

Google Pack sounds like q good idea. but over 15% of the US
computer users are excluded by Google's Windows-only design.
The article mentions Mac, but the Google site information on
Google Pack says no.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
One more reason I say AnooX is the search engine leader now
Google getting into Video selling business, is one more reason to realize that AnooX is now the pure play search engine leader.
Because AnooX does nothing but search and because of the following reasons listed here on AnooX site:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.anoox.com/whyanooxsrbetter.jsp" target="_newWindow">http://www.anoox.com/whyanooxsrbetter.jsp</a>

To see why AnooX is the search engine leader, specially read the last paragraph, I mean the one starting with:
"Put quite simply, it is not that the AnooX search engine is more intelligent ...."

Go People Power, Go AnooX :)
Down with the Big media Google &#38; Yahoo &#38; CNN, etc. style of wanting to control peoples mind.
Posted by Cyrus_K (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How much DRM?
That's not mentioned.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What's the Big Deal
This article point to how "this is the first time video distribution has been made available on a wide scale..."...blah, blah, blah, but hasn't Apple been doing this for sometime now with better prices, better selection and no rental expirations? As for the "wider scale" I don't know what you've been hearing but as far as I can deduct iTunes is a pretty large scale.
Posted by talkintech (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What's the storefront?
Pay Per View, like DVD via Walmart and Target, is an impulse item. So the key to monetizing video online is matching the consumer with what they'd be willing to buy right then. Google hasn't shown that they can sell products yet ? only ads for products. We'll need to see what user experience they can create in this space.
Posted by SethShapiro (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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