The search giant is apparently in talks with major companies, including Time Warner, Walt Disney, and Discovery, to distribute traditional TV channels on top of its budding fiber broadband network, the Wall Street Journal reports.
By doing so, Google would be taking aim directly at cable and satellite TV providers, and it would pose the biggest threat to companies like Cablevision that have a lock on combining broadband and TV service in many markets. The WSJ’s sources also say that Google is considering adding phone service on the fiber network as well, which would give it a “triple play” offering similar to many cable companies, which typically include TV, broadband, and phone service.
Google’s experimental gigabit fiber network — which offers speeds around 10 to 15 times as fast as typical cable broadband — has only launched in Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO so far. In October, the company said it plans to launch a fiber network to Europe next.
To become a full-fledged paid TV operator, Google will need more than a handful of partners on-board. Those negotiations may be difficult, since many content providers spurned Google last year by blocking access to Google TV on their websites.
According to the WSJ, Google execs have also tossed around the notion of offering full TV channels as a premium offering on YouTube — something that would fit in quite nicely with Google’s recent addition of 100 original YouTube channels and Google TV’s latest major update. But while that idea makes more sense for Google, it seems those discussions are far less advanced than Google’s plans to become a more traditional paid TV operator.