Google Eyes Online TV Service: Report

In another sign of the increasingly competitive over-the-top video space, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google has been approaching programmers about acquiring rights to stream their channels and programming.

Reports of Google’s ambitions to launch a nationwide pay TV service have been rampant in the last few years.

These first surfaced as part of the launch of Google TVs by various CE manufacturers.

More recently, Google push to invest in original YouTube content and the Google Fiber rollouts have prompted regular reports that it was planning to launch a package of channels over broadband connections.

It isn’t clear however whether such a service could get enough content to be successful or acquire content at reduced prices that would attract new customers. Subscription fees currently account for about half of the $140 billion a year TV industry and programmers are understandably reluctant to jeopardize that income.

Such a launch could also put Google in direct competition with Apple, which has also been interested for some time in streaming traditional TV channels and Intel, which is preparing its own service.

Reports also circulated for several years about Sony’s plans to launch a package of channels over broadband connections.