Friday, August 03, 2012

Google Quietly Becomes a Virtual MSO -- But, Comcast Is Listening ...

Shhh ... quiet ... can you hear that?  If you, like me, are on one of the coasts, you may have only heard a dull thud to this surprisingly under-reported story.

But, wait a minute, as you get closer to middle America you can hear a loud unmistakable BANG!  The epicenter of that blast has been identified as Kansas City.  And that BANG is the shot across the bow that Google just lobbed at the major cable and satellite providers.  

Just like that, Google is now officially a virtual MSO -- something I have long predicted to happen this year (via prediction #3 in my "Five Predictions for Online Video in 2012" that were published last December in TechCrunch).  That's right, Google is now taking on all the big guns -- Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, etc. etc. etc.  The company simply cannot rest on its search laurels.  It relentlessly is in perpetual motion.  And, as expected, its motion -- and aspirations -- are fundamentally to sit next to you on your couch and in your living room as you watch your big screen.

Let's be clear, "Google Fiber" (that's what they call the blazingly fast 1 GB service) is essentially a beta ... perhaps even an alpha.  Ryan Lawler of TechCrunch points out some of its initial shortcomings (including its relative dearth of content -- case in point, there is no ESPN, which will be a killer for many).  But, make no mistake, the threat to Comcast and all the other major MSOs is real.  Google is most definitely in it to win it when it comes to delivering "TV."

Kansas City is only the beginning.  And, this is only the beginning of that beginning.  

And, the overall opportunity is early, early, early ....

(Just ask Amazon, Apple, and others -- who are waiting in the wings ....)

P.S. -- MSOs like Comcast and Time Warner Cable should take heart in the fact that their own focus on offering blazingly fast broadband will pay off; Time-Warner just posted an 8% gain in Q2 profits due to acceleration of broadband adoption.