We've Got Hollywood Covered

Report: Google in Talks With Studios for On-Demand Video

Battle over paid movie, television digital streaming services heats up

While Google gets ready to fight an appeal from Viacom in its billion-dollar copyright lawsuit, the search giant is in negotiations with Hollywood studios to launch a “global pay-per-view video service by the end of 2010,” according to a report in the Financial Times.

The move would be a shot across the bow at Apple, which already offers digital movie rentals and low-priced downloads of movies and television shows and is said to be prepping an upgrade of its Apple TV offering.

A representative for Google did not immediately return a request for comment.

According to the report, the on-demand streaming service would be incorporated with (or within) Google-owned YouTube. If true, that would also seem to be a counter to Hulu, the Disney, News Corp. and NBC Universal-owned free streaming site that is planning to roll out a $9.99-a-month premium subscription service soon. (Meanwhile, Hulu is also said to be eyeing an initial public offering.)

Netflix has been pushing its on-demand rentals to circumvent millions in postal costs.

According to some reports, Google's top executives wooed studios moguls during Herb Allen's annual Sun Valley media conference in July.

Pricing for the Google service was not specified, though the report speculated that viewers would “pay about $5 for newer titles.” (To me, that seems high, considering RedBox's $1 DVD rental success, though Google would likely not have to deal with 28-day windows.)

In April, Google launched a free movie service, but the selection was limited.