Google Ogling Rollout of YouTube Movie Subscription Service in UK

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Watch out Lovefilm (or Amazon if you like), here comes Google! After a week of heavy traffic in terms of VOD news with Amazon going Prime and Netflix marrying CBS - Google, on the Friday end of the week, threw another bomb into the newsroom today with leakage via the New York Post that they perhaps intend to make a foray into the paid world of content with a Youtube on steroids in the UK market which will offer primo movies and other paid content via subscription. Not to mention we also reported that Google has been cuddling up to the NBA and NHL to stream live games over Youtube this week.

The NY Post:

Google has earmarked $100 million for striking content deals with studios and other premium content providers in its quest to expand its offerings beyond the homemade videos that dominate the site. Google is going to be launching channels in Europe and will launch a subscription video-on-demand service," one Hollywood executive told The Post. "They are going to spend $100 million on content. The plan is being spearheaded by Robert Kyncl, Google's entertainment czar who jumped from Netflix to help YouTube push ahead in Tinseltown."

And last week, it emerged that Google is dangling $5 million a piece to entice celebrities to launch YouTube channels with original content, New York Magazine reported.

In December 2010, Google acquired WideVine, a Seattle-based company specializing in digital rights management and secure services for Internet streaming video across several platforms and it was a subject covered deeply by Paul Johnson here at

Will the media companies who have publicly stated they are blocking their content from being streamed on Google TV products move away from using Widevine technology? Too much has been invested to even consider this in the short term...

Will the CE devices (inc. Apple) move away from supporting Widevine DRM and video player? Too many media companies rely on the Widevine DRM / player and the current alternatives (Adobe Flash, WMV, etc) are arguably not as good right now.

Has Google been forced into this move because of the universal backlash from the media industry, amid the concerns over security for premium content?

WideVine's clients include Netflix, Blockbuster and Vudu among another two dozen major CE manufacturers and service providers. Google has been mulling ways to turn YouTube into an entertainment hub where users can watch movies and TV shows online and on connected TVs for months and has pursued deals with the major studios to no avail for some time. Owning Widevine gives them leverage in any case.

As for Google going into the UK and Europe first - this makes complete sense - and it's something they should have also done with Google TV in the Connected TV landscape. We have been discussing that for months here at between the writers and we almost unanimously agree that Google TV would have had a lot less problems both in terms of licensing and consumer adoption in the European market - where IPTV has been making headway for more than a decade already and is far ahead of the US in 2 directional IP big screen entertainment. France has half the IPTV viewers globally - all in one market. Bring it on Youtube!



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