January 5, 2006 4:10 PM PST

Google to showcase video-on-demand service

Google plans to sell television shows and sports programming that customers can download from its Web site, a source familiar with the deal told CNET News.com.

Users will pay an undisclosed fee to download content supplied by partners that Google has lined up. These include TV broadcasters and the National Basketball Association, according to the source, who requested anonymity.

Mountain View.-based Google is expected to debut the new service at the Consumer Electronics Show Friday, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story. A Google representative responded to an interview request by saying that the company anticipates "many exciting announcements" on Friday. (Larry Page, co-founder of Google, is scheduled to give a CES keynote at 4 p.m. PST on Friday; CNET News.com will have full coverage.)

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A slew of companies, including Apple Computer, are trying to seize turf in the tiny video-on-demand market, even though studies indicate that the public has remained cool on the idea of replacing their TVs with a PC.

According to a Jupiter Research survey, only one in four people was interested in watching live or recorded TV on a PC. Just 28 percent of poll participants between the ages of 18 and 24 had ever watched a music video online.

"It's safe to say that only a small minority of the population are doing anything with downloadable video," said Todd Chanko, a media analyst at Jupiter, adding that he had no reason to believe a surge of interest in downloadable video is just around the corner.

Steve Jobs seems to disagree. Last month, Apple announced a deal to add 11 NBC shows to its stable of television programming on iTunes. That followed deals that Apple cut to obtain reruns of popular ABC shows "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" last October.

Last month, Apple said it had sold more than 3 million videos, which cost $1.99 each, since launching the service in October.

Nitin Gupta, a media analyst for research firm Yankee Group, said the surging interest in mobile products will spur sales of downloadable video and the market is too new to gauge public opinion.

"Services like this are the foundation for innovation," Gupta said. "Companies here will find new ways to package video content, make interfaces more active...I don't know the economics of Google's model for this, but with their track record, I'm betting they have found a way to make money on this."

9 comments

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Unfortunitly Google has opted to use DRM
which is bad enough and probably required by content producers, but rather than use a system already out there so as not introduce anymore player incompatabilites they've decided to roll their own. Yet another proprietary DRM scheme that's sure to annoy customers and do nothing to stop pirates. I think Apple is going to eat their lunch on this one.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Homegrown DRM?
It wouldn't surprise me if they did their own DRM scheme, but I
don't see that mentioned in the article. Is there some other source
reporting more detail on the file format, DRM, players, etc.?
Posted by Jeff Lebowski 63 (33 comments )
Link Flag
I Beg Your Pardon?
Sorry but what "track record"? What do you mean? Are you saying that every (or most) products/services Google has come up with have been generating positive cash flow? Which products/services?
Posted by dysonl (151 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Real, Quicktime/iTunes, Windows Media or...
...something completely different?

I think the most interesting question is whose file format and
DRM will be used. Will it one of the established ones or
something unique to Google?

It's very doubtful Apple would license Fairplay since they want
people to use iTunes. Microsoft would definitely license WMP's
DRM, but would Google want their fate to be tied to Microsoft's
technology?

That leaves Real Player or something homegrown. It would be a
huge boon for Real to land Google as a client.

I guess we'll find out tomorrow.

Then again, maybe it doesn't matter. Google has only proven
that they can create a search engine and make money on
advertising. Their other ventures have not made much headway
against the establish leaders in other markets.
Posted by Jeff Lebowski 63 (33 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google, Sun and Project DReaM...
Google could opt for another DRM scheme. Sun has been pushing
for a more multi-platform friendly DRM technology and the start of
Project DReaM is the result of that vision in action.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.openmediacommons.org/" target="_newWindow">http://www.openmediacommons.org/</a>

Google just teamed up with Sun Microsystems for various
technology purposes. I figure Project DReaM is one of them.
Posted by JuggerNaut (860 comments )
Link Flag
why not make content free
and just include ads...and any real content like porn...then charge for. Or charge a monthly fee. Either way, I don't think I would pay for it.
Posted by nknk417 (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Free can never work
I love the way a lot of people are saying that content should be free.

A couple of things:

If there is no copy protection and the content is free then I would expect somebody will remove the ads (if they are in there) and re-distribute.

I don't want to be left with home move quality content. I expect like everybody else I want quality entertainment and not songs recorded in a bedroom or movies made with DV camera by a much of friends.

There will always be a requirement to protect content so that the revenue stream can be maintained to allow organisations to make more content.

Do you expect painters to give their art work away, writers to give their books away, musicians to give their music away (oh, wait that's what some people think is the way it should be)

Reality check - this is a commercial world and we all want to be paid a fair price for our work. Businesses will always try to make as much money as is possible. The way I look at it is if I was in their position I would like the same opportunities.
Posted by ahickey (177 comments )
Link Flag
pay video on computer
Forget that,who wants to sit in front of the monitor and watch a full legth movie alone,Maybe a techi just checking it out would use it but over time it would become a bore for anyone.I've tried watching dvd movies on my computer,it works well but I can't sit there while it plays through.I have a nice tv and surround with dvd in my living space which is much more relaxing.
Posted by curioone (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Allright !
I watch a lot of video on my pc. Streaming from newswebsites, even here at news.cbsi.com

I would love to watch longer content streamed from the internet to my pc and then wireless (i.e. usb-dongle) to my tv. That I allready have now. If I would have a remote control (non-directional radio signal - thru walls) with a trackball (mousepointer) and an easy interface I would have the 10-feet experience in my living room.

If I could pay a free day-to-day fee (send an SMS for 2,50 ¬ - split 0,75 ¬ to provider, 0,75 ¬ to Google and 1,00 ¬ to the contentprovider - receive free SMS with code to unlock the Google Video Service until 00:00 hours the next day) I would like this service a lot. You could offer all the worlds tv channels like this.

Free your mind, break open your paradigms !
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