The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is considering offering paid cable TV services to its customers. People familiar with Google's plans say that the company has discussed partnering with the likes of Disney, Time Warner, and Discovery Communications to distribute major TV channels over its fiber network. According to the WSJ, the talks are being led by former TV exec Jeremy Stern, who joined Google in September.
For Google, the video offering would be a way to expand upon the high-speed internet the company deployed in Palo Alto, California and is in the process of deploying in Kansas Cities, Kansas and Missouri; offering subscribers a competitive triple-play of voice, data, and video. It would also be a pathway for Google to make advertising inroads onto the third screen. Television is estimated to generate over $150 billion per year from advertising and subscription fees.
Regardless, it won't be an easy path for Google to forge as it haggles over program licensing with content proprietors and channel owners. Google has apparently discussed with media executives the idea of expanding its YouTube channel lineup to license a full suite of cable channels for paying customers, turning YouTube into a virtual cable service, or sorts. At this point, nothing would surprise us when it comes to Google's try-everything-once approach to product development.