Yet again Google is coming to the TV distribution market. But wait….Not yet.
Oh, by the way, Google hasn't really built anything yet. And it really doesn't have many networks signed on -- at least not many you might have heard of.
Yes, there are Showtime and Encore, but no Disney -- and that means no ESPN. There’s also nothing from Time Warner and that means no HBO, TNT or TBS. Also nothing from News Corp, so no Fox News or FX. But there are Viacom’s MTV and Nickelodeon.
Kansas City seems like the first market in the mix, especially for the broadband part of the service. But that's all. This seems to say, “Hey, it's Google. So sit up and take notice.” At best, this is a work-in-progress. But should it really even be that?
Consumers might have first learned about Google's initial efforts back in February 2010.
But Google still wants to drive consumer interest. And it believes it has one specific fact sure to perk up the ears of any entertainment/media consumer: The Google service is 100 times faster than what you are using now, processing data at 1 gigabit per second. Zoom!
OK, that got my attention. But such "hint" marketing plays both ways. For instance, Google says consumers will need to pay a "$300 construction fee" which will be rebated if they commit to least a year of a $120 TV/Internet package or a $70 Internet-only service.
So you might say... hmmm. But there is some hesitation: This is not what consumers are used to -- or have been conditioned to – with new media technology.
For example, when Apple comes out with a product (iPhone, iPad) or service (iTunes), it is always pretty well developed. Yes, there are hints about these products or services early on. But the public only hears the real specifics -- price and so forth -- when the product or service is fully realized. Consumers can then get hyped on its market introduction, usually in a few days after it’s announced.
Google's effort comes with a lot of "ifs" -- including this weird thing about having Kansas City neighborhoods "competing" with one another to see who gets the service first. ("We'll give you this service. Maybe. But you better really want it.")
From all this, I imagine consumers murmuring, "Hmmm.. sounds good. Maybe. I need to wait and see." The key word in the last sentence is "wait" -- and for Google, that’s like a shrug of one’s shoulders. Not exactly an enduring quality for a brand.