Video services

Google Eyes Pay-TV Play

Welcome to the cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is drawing up a plan to offer pay-TV services, a possible move that would up the competitive ante with traditional cable MSOs, telcos and satellite TV service providers, as well as over-the-top players, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The paper said the Internet search and mobile OS giant is looking to layer video and phone services on top of the 1Gbit/s fiber network it's building in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., and has already started carriage discussions with major studios and programmers, including Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS). One idea making the rounds is to bring a lineup of cable channels to YouTube Inc. , which is about to unleash almost 100 Web TV "channels." Word of the possible moves comes as Google is trying to acquire Motorola Mobility LLC , a major cable video gear supplier. (See Google to Plant More Kansas City Fiber, Google Crafting YouTube 'Channels' and Google Didn't Want All of Motorola Mobility .)

  • Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) defended the aims of its acquisition of two bankrupt satellite operators in an Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing, claiming that its proposal would push forward the agency's priority of "deploying broadband networks to every American." Dish is trying to transfer ownership of spectrum from TerreStar and DBSD North America Inc. and is asking for a waiver that would let it move ahead on a plan to create a hybrid terrestrial-satellite broadband service under a new subsidiary called Gamma. (See Dish Sizing Up Mobile Broadband Service .)

  • Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is taking a deeper run at T-1 competition after extending its trunk-based VoIP services and Docsis 3.0-fueled 100Mbit/s downstream by 10Mbit/s upstream Internet offering to businesses in Michigan.

  • Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) and Intel Capital are among those leading a $35 million Series E investment in Delivery Agent Inc., a maker of software that lets consumers make purchases via the television. Delivery Agent has raised $107.3 million so far and counts clients such as NBCUniversal LLC , CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS), HBO and Discovery Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK).

  • Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings has taken the brunt of the blame for a recent string of blunders that has wiped about $12 billion of the company's value, but analysts tell The San Francisco Chronicle that it's unlikely that the company will look to replace him anytime soon, noting that Hastings, who is also Netflix's president and chairman of the board, still has firm control and remains the company's visionary, so there may be no other alternative at this point, anyway. (See Netflix Loses 810,000 Subs .)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • AESerm 12/5/2012 | 4:49:40 PM
    re: Google Eyes Pay-TV Play

    So unless they outsource to contractors, this means that we eventually could see Google vans rolling through the streets of KC and environs. Back when rumours circulated about Apple building its own network, i tried (unsucessfully) to imagine Steve Jobs rallying the boys in a tech ops break room. It's easier to see Eric Schmidt in an ops setting, like a data center or headend, because he's an engineer and Google is running a bazillion servers already. Still a photo op of him doing an install would be fun to see.

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:49:34 PM
    re: Google Eyes Pay-TV Play

    I'm curious to see what Google exactly has in mind here, whether this will be some sort of one-off experiment or the start of something bigger. If they think they want to become an overbuilder, they might want to think twice about that given the expense and time involved.  Might make more sense for them to test the pay TV waters on their own network in the Kansas Cities and then embark on an over-the-top play using its data center infrastructure... if they can get the programming rights.  JB




    paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:49:33 PM
    re: Google Eyes Pay-TV Play


    I really think its funny when people equate running a data center to running an access network.  I give them two reasons why (short one first then the long one second).

    1 - Ever wonder why there is a Shotgun Test for Street Cabinets?  (I am serious - Cabinets get shot with a shotgun as part of the test).

    2 - Sent a guy from Naperville (this was after Tellabs bought AFC) to do ride alongs with Verizon on FiOS installs.  Trying to improve them, make them quicker that sort of thing.  When he got done with his week in the field.  I asked the following question, "Anybody come to the door naked?"  He looked at his shoes and nodded yes.

    Just saying that running a data center is a lot different than mingling with real folks in Access. :)



    timkridel 12/5/2012 | 4:49:32 PM
    re: Google Eyes Pay-TV Play

    From what I’ve heard — see the last paragraph at http://columbiabusinesstimes.com/13043/2011/10/28/gig-u-sparks-broadband-challenges — Google wants to save money by making subs pay for the last mile.

    Of course, the catch is getting consumers to agree. They know that they have to pay to have sewer, gas, water, etc. infrastructure built out to their home, but they’ve been conditioned to expect MSOs and telcos to do it for “free.”

    paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:49:31 PM
    re: Google Eyes Pay-TV Play

    Actually, you may not be aware but if you live in a rural area you have to pay the cable guys to run service from the street to your house.  Telcos have to deliver the universal service but for cable cos....it is not free today.



    timkridel 12/5/2012 | 4:49:31 PM
    re: Google Eyes Pay-TV Play

    Right. But in every suburb where I've lived, installation has always been "free." No surprise: It's easier to hide the cost of a 100 foot run in the monthly fee than it is a 1,000 footer, so the latter gets broken out and put on the bill.  

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