Google maybe planning pay-per-view TV on YouTube

10:03, December 04, 2009      

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Google is in talks with TV executives to develop a streaming service for commercial-free television shows on YouTube was reported Thursday. According to the Wall street Journal and a number of technology websites, Google is planning to make programmes available a day after airing for as little as 2 U.S. dollars. It is unclear whether this would be available only in the United States.

Apple TV already offer a similar service though programmes may be downloaded for future viewing. The BBC already offers British licence payers the facility to watch programmes for free and to download them. However downloaded content has to be played within one week as it has a built in expiry date. The BBC sercice is also only available to UK residents.

In October this year Britain's Channel 4 television station signed a landmark deal with YouTube, becoming the first broadcaster worldwide to make full-length TV shows such as Skins, Hollyoaks and Peep Show available to users of the Google-owned video-sharing website.

The deal had been under negotiation for around last six months and has enabled Channel 4 to make its existing 4oD online video catch-up service available via YouTube shortly after shows have aired on television.

When launched in early 2010, YouTube users will be able to watch the shows free of charge, with Channel 4 selling the advertising around the content. The broadcaster has also made 3,000 hours of archive programming available including shows such as Brass Eye, Derren Brown and Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.

The service is only available to UK residents however, whether via the website or YouTube. Video on demand is growing, but Michael Grade, outgoing executive chairman of ITV and former Channel 4 head, has warned of the effect it may have on traditional programme making. Soon after Channel 4 signed the deal with YouTube Grade said such deals will mean that "Americans will take the lion's share of the internet value in our content in this country, very soon".

Speaking to the Lord's communications committee, he admitted that ITV is likely to do a deal with an American video-on-demand aggregation service such as Google or Hulu, the online TV joint venture backed by News Corporation, NBC Universal and Disney, in order to keep pace with the digital evolution of the industry. "None of that money that goes to America will get invested in the UK", Grade said. ITV was one of the partners in the ill-fated UK online video service Kangaroo, alongside Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide, which aimed to provide a British-run competitor but was closed down by the competition regulator in February.

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