Stay tuned for Google Cable. According to new reports, the technology giant plans a paid cable-TV service.
A story in Friday's Wall Street Journal indicates the company's entry into providing television programming may grow from an already-committed project to launch a high-speed Internet service in Kansas City, both in Missouri and Kansas. According to the report, Google is considering adding television and phone service as well.
Discussions for Programming
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company is reportedly in discussions with Walt Disney Company, Time Warner and Discovery Communications about programming for the video service, although no deal has been struck. Former cable TV executive Jeremy Stern, recently hired by Google, is said to be in charge of negotiations.
The cable effort would be separate from the company's Google TV. That product, which integrates Web content with existing TV programming in an HD set, has specifically been positioned as a complement, not a replacement, to cable or broadcast TV.
In a recent posting on the official Google TV blog, for instance, Google Vice President for Product Management Mario Queiroz and Director of Engineering Vincent Dureau wrote that Google TV is about "bringing millions of new channels to your TV from the next generation of creators, application developers, and networks," such as the Google-owned YouTube. Google has committed $100 million to create original content for YouTube.
But Google is not alone among technology giants in eyeing the big glass eye. Amazon and Dish Network are said to be involved in developing streaming video content that would challenge Netflix. CBS CEO Les Moonves recently noted that Apple had approached that network, among others, for an ad-supported Apple TV service that would split ad revenue. CBS declined, he said.
A New Apple TV?
A key issue, apparently, was that CBS prefers upfront payment for online licensing deals, which the Apple TV service was rumored to be. Instead, Apple was looking for revenue to be derived from how many people saw the ads, which is not unusual in an online context.
There have been reports for over a year that Apple has developed new technology for delivering TV programming to TV sets. In the best-selling new biography of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, author Walter Isaacson indicates that TV was among the new territories in which Jobs was exploring.
The book said Jobs felt his company had come up with a way to make connected, interactive TVs simpler, a non-trivial task, as Google has found out in creating Google TV. Recently, Google release a software update to Google TV that, among other things, attempts to simplify the interface.
Jobs is said to have tapped Jeff Robbin, who led the effort to develop iTunes, for the TV challenge. There have also been reports that a new Apple TV could include Siri, the voice-recognizing intelligent agent recently introduced as part of the iPhone 4S.