Google already has its feet into the TV space with its somewhat neglected Google TV platform, as well as its recently launched cable TV service as part of Google Fiber in select states. Today, The Wall Street Journal reports that the company has entered negotiations with media companies for a new internet TV streaming service that provides cable TV-style programming:
Google Inc. has approached media companies about licensing their content for an Internet TV service that would stream traditional TV programming, people familiar with the matter say.
If the Web giant goes ahead with the idea, it would join several other companies planning to offer such “over-the-top” services, delivering cable TV-style packages of channels over broadband connections. Chip company Intel Corp. and Sony Corp.are both working on similar offerings, while Apple Inc has pitched various TV licensing ideas to media companies in the past couple of years.
Google has even apparently demoed the product in meetings with programmers in recent months. According to the report, it would differ from Netflix and Hulu by offering a television experience similar to traditional cable companies but through the internet. In other words, “offering conventional channels, allowing consumers to flip through channels just as they would on cable.”
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Google has made overtures to some programmers in recent months about the initiative, people familiar with the situation said. In at least one case, Google has provided a demonstration of the product, according to a person who saw the demonstration. Google didn’t immediately have a comment.
While Google is providing TV to customers through its Google Fiber service in Kansas and quickly expanding, it currently only offers traditional style cable packages through the offering. As to be expected, according to today’s report, Google isn’t having particular success in its early negotiations with content providers. Apple too has reportedly been having a tough time in trying to negotiate with media companies for its rumored upcoming TV product. The most recent report claimed Apple is offering to pay media companies for ads skipped by users.
Indeed, about two years ago Google had conversations with media companies about a similar over-the-top service, the people said. Those discussions didn’t get very far, one of the people said. But the environment has changed since then: not only are several other technology companies actively working on similar services, but pay TV providers are asking entertainment companies for nationwide streaming rights.
WSJ’s report doesn’t provide any additional information on the service or what specific companies Google has demoed the technology to.