Google is considering launching its own paid cable-TV service, reports the Wall Street Journal. Such a jump into this new business would be a first for Google, which has so far not operated as a direct service provider, and could alter the landscape of the highly competitive cable TV business.
The move into cable TV remains in rumor status, as the information about the alleged plan come via unnamed sources. But other confirmed plans by the company may support its foray into a cable TV offering.
First, Google has already announced that it plans to build a fiber-optic high-speed Internet network in Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas. According to sources familiar with the company’s plans, Google may expand this operation to include both video and phones service as well. In addition, Google recently hired cable-TV executive Jeremy Stern who has reportedly been in talks with companies such as Walt Disney, Time Warner and Discovery Communications about potentially offering channels through their cable service.
A Google spokeswoman issued a statement following publication of WSJ‘s report.
“We’re still exploring what product offerings will be available when we launch Google Fiber,” she said.
While a full leap into the $150 billion-a-year cable industry would be a first for Google, the Internet giant has a number of tangential projects in the works. Google currently offers Google TV software, which allows enabled televisions to watch Internet-fed video. In addition, YouTube, which is owned by Google, recently announced that it has plans to launch 100 ad-supported channels with different niche themes, like pets, how-tos, and specific sports.
Put all these services together — fiber-optic network, YouTube channels and its Google TV user interface — and it would seem the company already has many of the key pieces of the cable-TV puzzle laid out.