Google Video

Google jumps onto the video-on-demand (kinda) bandwagon ... (UPDATE to include link to early coverage from Business Week)

So the big centrepiece of Larry Page's talk at the CES bash was the birth of Google Video, an on-line broadcast video store with content deals in place with CBS, Sony/BMG, and the NBA. This obviously births out of the insanely successful video sales of first-run TV shows over on iTunes, and is interesting in that - unlike iTunes where Steve strongarms the providers into forking over content on his terms - the rights holders are free to set their own limitations on playback, ownership, and windows of opportunity. So the NBA will make games available for sale and unlimited viewing 24 hours after the final buzzer for about five bucks, but Charlie Rose will have his show available for immediate free streaming as of the broadcast date and for sale the next day at 99 cents.

Meanwhile Sony is talking about a "download-to-rent" option complete with the same sort of evil "digital rights management" software that they tried to use on their CDs ... what will be interesting here is that the marketplace will get a chance to "vote" on these concepts with their download dollars. If users buy a lot of the iTunes-style shows (download for a fair price and own it forever) and eschew the lame schemes like Sony's "we still own it, you bastards, and you can only watch when we say so" deal, someone might actually get a clue and stop trying to shaft consumers with heavy-handed DRM bullshit.

But, as we like to say on these pages, don't hold your breath.

UPDATE: Some mainstream coverage just trickled onto the web here, with more details.

Posted: Sat - January 7, 2006 at 06:47 AM