BSkyB Gets Googly
British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (BSkyB) says it plans to offer its U.K. broadband customers a set of Sky-branded services from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) including video, communications, search, and advertising. (See Google, Sky Team.)
The two companies say they've signed a set of "wide-ranging multi-year agreements" to develop, tailor, and re-brand the services to match BSkyB's look and feel. The companies wouldn't disclose the financial particulars, other than to say that they plan to share advertising revenues. (See Google Launches Apps.)
Google spokeswoman Rachel Whetstone says Google has partnered with numerous ISPs on search and advertising, but that its BSkyB alliance is the "broadest" of Google's European tie-ins.
"Eric [Schmidt, Google CEO] has said many times that the company that partners most broadly and most deeply will be successful," Whetstone says. She notes that the U.K. is especially fertile ground for such partnerships -- broadband penetration in the region is around 60 percent.
BSkyB spokesman Robert Fraser says 113,000 people had signed up for his company's broadband service by the end of October, and about 74,000 of them have been switched on. He adds that BSkyB expects to have 3 million broadband customers by 2010.(See BSkyB Unveils Strategy.)
BSkyB's chief exec, James Murdoch, told investors Wednesday he wants BSkyB to begin developing the new Google-powered services during the first half of 2007. (See BSkyB Reports Q1.)
BSkyB intends to launch a "multi-platform user-generated video portal" based on Google's video content tools. The ISP says users will be able to edit, upload, and share their videos. (See Google's Mobile Challenge.)
BSkyB will build customized versions of Google's Gmail, contacts, calendar, and instant messaging services. The companies say they intend to build some sort of VOIP service together, but it remains unclear whether it will look like Google's existing "Google Talk" IM/VOIP combo product. Fraser says BSkyB won't develop the VOIP service immediately. (See Google Talks Interop.)
Google will also provide its search-based advertising tools so that U.K. businesses can run Google-powered search-based ads across BSkyB sites. (See Google on YouTube: It'll Ad Up .)
The companies say the new services will be deliverable to PCs, TVs, and wireless devices. (See 3 UK Adds Sky TV.)
Sky announced the launch of its broadband Internet service -- called Sky Broadband -- in July and began activating customer lines in mid-August.
— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading