Google Looking to Offer Paid Streaming TV Shows?

MediaMemo reports that Google is looking to enter the business of offering paid television content, a move which would add a new competitor to Apple's iTunes Store TV offerings. Google's service, however, is reportedly planned to utilize a streaming delivery method via YouTube rather than the download model used by Apple.

YouTube already lets users watch a smattering of TV shows for free, with advertising. Now it envisions something similar to what Apple and Amazon already offer: First-run shows, without commercials, for $1.99 an episode, available the day after they air on broadcast or cable.

Sources say the site's negotiations with the networks and studios that own the shows are preliminary. But both sides seem optimistic, since models for such deals already exist. No comment from YouTube.

One possible question with Google's plan is whether consumers will accept streaming delivery over the more familiar download delivery generally favored for paid content. While executives have cited studies showing that most purchasers of downloaded TV content watch each show only once, convincing the public to rely on streaming video for the same $1.99 they have traditionally paid for downloadable content may not be easy.

But the networks and studios, which control pricing, will want to sell the streamed shows at the same price as downloads; they fear that offering them at a different price will force them to go back and rework their existing deals.

Another tactic possibly under consideration is for Google to offer less popular TV shows that are currently unavailable through other digital outlets, providing the company with additional flexibility in its pricing model.

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