Report: Google Planning New Video Venture
The UK’s Guardian reports that Google is planning some sort of new TV/online video venture with Simon Fuller, the creator of the UK’s Pop Idol, the precursor of the US’s American Idol show. The Guardian speculates and quotes Fuller: Executives from the £229bn internet giant have been in discussions with Fuller, who invented Pop Idol, […]
The UK’s Guardian reports that Google is planning some sort of new TV/online video venture with Simon Fuller, the creator of the UK’s Pop Idol, the precursor of the US’s American Idol show.
The Guardian speculates and quotes Fuller:
Executives from the £229bn internet giant have been in discussions with Fuller, who invented Pop Idol, the world’s most successful TV franchise, for about a year. Although details of the deal are a closely guarded secret, sources close to Fuller say it could revolutionise the way entertainment and music are distributed.
‘It’s a big idea on a global scale,’ he said. ‘It will change television in much the way iTunes changed the way music is disseminated.’
While this is highly provocative, it’s worth noting that Google has stumbled in video in the past. Google Video’s original launch was badly done and the site failed to gain traction initially (partly motivating the later $1.5 billion acquisition of YouTube). Google’s video subscription content initiative was basically a failure, and the company now has many enemies among the producers of video/TV content because of YouTube. (NBC and News Corp’s joint competing venture, Hulu, is now in private beta with distribution agreements with Google’s major rivals.)
It’s also interesting to note that such a venture, which Fuller compares to iTunes, might pit Google against Apple in video, a second potential arena of competition between the companies. Android and the Open Handset Alliance is, as a practical matter, competitive with Apple’s iPhone and offers a very iPhone-like experience. This is interesting because Eric Schmidt sits on Apple’s board.
Video viewing is increasingly happening online. In Europe as well as the US, people are turning to the Internet for video content, often at the expense of traditional television.
To make matters worse, in the US there is currently a television writers strike, which has stopped production of all but a few shows. The strike is essentially a dispute over royalties and fees writers receive on secondary products and distribution. Some industry insiders estimate if the strike goes on it will cause a further loss of audience at a time when TV can ill afford it.
News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch said this week that he believes “sky’s-the-limit profits from traditional broadcast TV are over.”