Google Pitches Online Pay TV Service to Entertainment Companies (Report)

2:06 AM PST 07/17/2013 by Georg Szalai

Unlike Netflix's and Amazon's on-demand offers, Google is looking at streaming cable TV-style packages of networks.

Google is the latest tech giant to look at launching an online service for pay TV programming.

The Internet powerhouse recently pitched a new service to entertainment companies and held talks with them about licensing their content, The Wall Street Journal reported. Unlike Netflix's and Amazon's on-demand content offers, Google's TV service would stream cable TV-style packages of networks and allow users to flip through channels, it said, citing people familiar with the plans.

In at least one discussion, Google executives showed a demonstration of the envisioned service, the Journal said. Further details weren't immediately clear.

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Google didn't comment on its plans.

About two years ago, Google, which has invested in its YouTube online video arm to make it more of a destination for professional content, discussed a similar idea for an online TV service with content companies. However, it never managed to strike licensing deals.

Entertainment companies have been careful not to undermine their core business of making channels available via pay TV operators. The Google service would compete with cable and satellite TV operators.

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The Journal said content companies would likely want Google to pay for and offer the same network portfolios that pay TV companies offer subscribers. Otherwise, pay TV giants could launch another push for a la carte offerings, which would allow them to let consumers pay only for channels they want.

Similar to Google, Intel and Sony Corp. also have been working on online pay TV services. Apple has looked at several TV service proposals in recent years.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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