The still waters of the cable TV industry might run deep, but if companies like Google keep splashing around in them, we might see an alternative to the traditional bundling model — but it ain’t gonna be easy. A new report says Google is entertaining the idea of possibly offering cable channels over broadband Internet connections, something that would likely meet with a major pushback from cable and satellite providers.
Like its fellow tech giant Intel, Google is reportedly interested in licensing TV channels for an Internet cable service, say insiders cited by the New York Times.
There’s no deal on the table or anywhere near any kind of table right now, but apparently Google has been meeting with the heavy-hitters in the media world to see if it could host those channels on the Internet.
That would result in direct competition for companies like Comcast, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable, giving the 100 million American households currently in thrall to the almighty bundled package another choice.
It’s going to be a hard row to hoe, however, as channel owners need to get on board and so far they’re all kind of “meh” on the whole idea. Many of them also already have contracts with distributors that prohibit them from teaming up with competitors like Google would become, once it’s entered the fray officially.
As such, Google’s reported interest is a departure from efforts like Apple, which is trying to work with both channel owners and the distributors they already use to offer TV on set-top boxes, on top of traditional cable packages.
“Google feels the need to beat Apple to the punch,” said one of those super secret sources.
Google’s idea would shake things up a whole lot more, if it even succeeds: One source predicts Google wants to go with a subscription service that would stream live channels as well as providing a library of TV shows on-demand — a sort of Hulu/cable hybrid.
It’s still early days, however, and Google is staying mum for now. We can only wait and see if Google will make waves in those still cable waters or if we’re forever to be slaves to the cords we keep trying to cut.
Google Said to Weigh Supplying TV Channels [New York Times]