Google is rumoured to be considering a move into the pay television business, a move that would expand the internet giant’s reach into the profitable world of television, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The search monolith has already announced plans to build a fiber-optic high-speed internet service in Kansas City, and according to the Journal, Google might now also be considering ways to expand that into pay video and telephone services.
A move like this would put Google in direct competition with pay television companies and phone companies that have expanded into what is referred to as “triple play” of communications: Cable television, telephone and high-speed internet.
According to the Journal, Google is currently in discussion with major television networks and hopes to include content owned by Disney, Time Warner and Discovery Communications. The Journal reports that “no final decisions have been made,” and Google representatives are yet to comment on this. The company is also rumoured to be in the process of hiring cable TV executive Jeremy Stern, who is said to be leading the discussions with the media conglomerates.
The unconfirmed news came as Google set out to breathe new life into its internet television platform with the roll-out of second-generation Google TV software.
Google is among technology firms betting that the future of home entertainment is films, television shows and other video content streamed on demand over the internet.
The California-based internet titan last year launched Google TV, which is powered by Android software and Chrome web browser and can be accessed using Sony TVs or set-top boxes from Logitech that route web content to existing television sets.
Sony and Logitech have both slashed prices on Google TV offerings in the face of disappointing sales.
Updated Google TV software seeks to make it easier and more intuitive for viewers to find online video.
“The internet marks a new chapter for television,” Google said in a blog post.
“This chapter is not about replacing broadcast or cable TV; it’s not about replicating what’s on TV to the Web.
“It’s about bringing millions of new channels to your TV from the next generation of creators, application developers and networks.”
YouTube’s dive into original content includes deals with celebrity partners such as pop music star Madonna and actor Ashton Kutcher.
“Even more talented creators and original entertainment will soon join YouTube’s existing channel lineup,” YouTube global head of content partnerships Robert Kyncl said in a blog post last week.
Google reportedly laid out more than US$100-million to establish the partnerships, which come as it tries to become a preferred source of content for internet-linked televisions.
“These channels will have something for everyone, whether you’re a mom, a comedy fan, a sports nut, a music lover or a pop-culture maven,” Kyncl said.
The first of the original channels will appear on YouTube this month with more added through the coming year.