Reports are that Google is talking about starting up its own so-called “over the top” (OTT) Internet-delivered TV service.
Google keeps dabbling in all things TV -- with some uneven results to date. Google kind of tried the TV distribution idea before, talking to big media companies two years ago. But discussions fizzled. Last year, its Google TV ads, a service that looked to bring Google’s digital/automated ad selling tools to traditional TV selling, was shut down.
Still, Google TV can be found as an app on televisions through a number of deals with TV set manufacturers, offering up access to apps like Pandora and Redbox Instant. But Google TV -- at least right now -- is somewhat of a complementary service, not configured to compete with the likes of Comcast or DirecTv.
So some people might view the OTT Google move as a defensive one, since Apple, Intel, and Sony have been testing the waters when it comes to Internet-delivered linear programming.
Some like Google and Intel want to develop complete new systems -- which might irk traditional TV networks/program providers. Others like Apple want to work more within the system -- so much so that part of its plan would include paying TV networks for commercial-skipping through a premium service.
Still, all three -- Google, Intel, and Apple -- are looking to strike deals with traditional TV networks. That’s different from the likes of Aereo, a more renegade over the top TV service that believes it doesn’t have to pay fees to TV broadcast networks.
Standing in the way of all these new efforts, are traditional TV distributors -- Comcast, DirecTV, Dish, and Time Warner Cable. Some, like Comcast and Time Warner, already own their big Internet service provider operations. Other likes DirecTV have been looking to buy big video platforms like Hulu that sits on those broadband pipes.
Even more confusing, some of these traditional TV companies are also looking into developing their own over-the-top Internet-delivered services.
What distinguishes any of them? No one knows just yet. Everyone is looking for the key ingredients that will make them stand out. Right now, at least, your well-known brand name will get you in the door with TV media owners for a pitch.