Google Gearing Up For The Online Video Wars With Miramax Bid

It is no surprise that online video is rapidly becoming a commodity, thanks to ever-increasing broadband capacity and wide acceptance of Internet-enabled mobile phones. Increasingly, televisions are becoming conduits for streamed video as well, via streaming devices, players and DVRs, or through newly available IETV (Internet Enabled TV).

Now streamed video is becoming the latest battleground for Google. A recent report in the Wall Street Journal suggested that Google is currently in talks with Filmyard Holdings to license digital rights to films from Miramax, a major movie studio that was recently sold by Walt Disney Co. Should such an offer go through Google would have the rights to Miramax’s library of over 700 films including such hits as “Kill Bill” and “No Country for Old Men”. Google would then be in a position to beef up its offerings on YouTube. While the report has yet to be confirmed by Google, a move of this magnitude has big implications for the online video world.

For one thing, it could dramatically change the YouTube model. Up until now, YouTube has been largely a free online video hub, supported by ad dollars. Offering content from Miramax would potentially turn YouTube into a hybrid that includes a significant amount of paid content. YouTube offers very limited paid content now.

It would also bolster the ad models Google has been pushing which would benefit significantly from being coupled with longer premium content.

More to the point, such a move would put YouTube in direct competition with other paid online video providers, including Amazon, Apple (via iTunes), Hulu (which recently launched its HuluPlus monthly subscription service) and Netflix (which just announced a streaming-only subscription option). As an aside, Amazon recently launched “Amazon Studios,” which the online retail giant says is a new approach to movie production. It’s also a creative way for Amazon to expand its business and potentially gain exclusive access to online video content.

Google’s potential Miramax deal is no small development. YouTube is already the world’s most popular online video community, so Google could use YouTube’s considerable user base to launch a paid service quite easily. With the financial backing and search sophistication of Google, competitors of YouTube would have to see this as a serious challenge.

The Miramax move could also benefit ailing Google TV, Google’s fledgling service that targets the IETV market. Google TV has been slow to gain traction, but it is now incorporated into Sony IETVs and Blu-ray players. It may be available as part of Toshiba and Vizio IETV offerings in the future. With Google TV, a television viewer can watch YouTube videos and additional video content that resides on the web.

Once again, Google is demonstrating its prowess by recognizing the “massification” of online video. Just as important, Google’s continuing advance into paid online video content will be sure to reconfigure an online segment that is already in flux. Whatever the outcome, movie studios can’t help but be happy with the growth of streamed video distribution channels – as long as they continue to get their fair share of the profits.

About Barry Silverstein

Barry Silverstein is a freelance writer/marketing consultant. In addition to writing for ReveNews, he is a contributing writer to Brandchannel.com, the world’s leading online branding forum. He is the author of three marketing books, The Breakaway Brand (co-author, McGraw-Hill, 2005), Business-to-Business Internet Marketing (Maximum Press, 2003) and Internet Marketing for Technology Companies (Maximum Press, 2003). Barry ran his own Internet and direct marketing agency for twenty years. You can find Barry on Twitter @bdsilv.

One Response to Google Gearing Up For The Online Video Wars With Miramax Bid

  1. […] interest in streaming movies is already a given, as proven by the potential Google-Miramax deal I wrote about last November. And let’s not forget about Amazon, Hulu, and a host of other players – even new […]