Photo: Google fibre
We all want Google, or another tech company like Apple, to make pay TV more affordable and available from any device. But that’s going to be a lot harder than it sounds.Yesterday, Google rocked the nation by becoming a cable TV player as part of its mega high speed Internet network launched in Kansas City.
But Google won’t be able to change the cable TV business easily, if at all, Greg Ireland, consumer video market researcher for IDC told BI.
How we watch TV and how much we pay for it isn’t completely in the hands of the cable companies. It’s with the content programmers, Ireland warns.
In order to get television shows and on-demand channels for TV and Internet devices, Google has to negotiate with the content programmers same as the other cable providers. “They’ll have to bundle channels just like everyone else does. There’s no way for Google to break the mould with programming,” Ireland says.
Given that Google is offering its service at rock bottom prices, it’s not surprising that Google’s Pay-TV offering was missing premium channels like HBO, TNT, CNN, ESPN.
“Google’s hands are tied. It can’t do much when so much is really controlled big media companies,” says Ireland.
The one thing Google could do to shake up the pay TV industry is start a price war. But it’s got to be wiling to eat billions of dollars to make that happen on a nationwide scale. That means building the high speed networks and losing money monthly to maintain them until it has enough viewers, and enough power, to get those TV stations at really low prices.
Google hasn’t shown that it’s willing to lose this kind of money. Right now, it is making whole neighborhoods in Kansas City petition Google and promise they will be customers before it will offer TV service to their areas.
Still, if any company can shake up the pay TV business, that company is Google. Here’s hoping the Kansas City experiment shows them how.