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Motorola purchase may bolster Google TV in bid to unseat Apple TV

post #1 of 73
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Executives for both Motorola and Google made clear on Monday that they intend to take advantage of Motorola's existing presence in the high-definition set-top box space, where the Google TV has failed to gain traction against the Apple TV.

Motorola Mobility's primary business is in creating smartphones, which it will continue to do under Google's ownership. And the search company will also control the more than 17,000 patents owned by Motorola.

But as part of the $12.5 billion acquisition announced on Monday, Google will also gain access to products and devices from Motorola that extend well beyond the mobile phone business. One key element of the deal, acknowledged by executives during a conference call, is Motorola's set-top box business, where the company builds high-definition digital video recorders and other devices.

Motorola's "Video Solutions" line of products also offer sharing of content. One product under that umbrella, "Televation," allows users to rebroadcast live TV to other devices in their home. In addition, Motorola also builds and sells "SURFboard" branded cable modems, Voice over IP telephony adapters, and other hardware.

"They're a leading home device maker, and that's also a big opportunity," Google CEO Larry Page said of Motorola on Monday. "We're working with them in the industry to really accelerate innovation."

Motorola's chief executive, Sanjay Jha, discussed a "great convergence" he sees happening in technology, where the mobile world, with devices like smartphones and tablets, is merging with set-top boxes, allowing users to seamlessly share content between devices.

Jha highlighted the "close relationship" that Motorola has established with carriers and cable providers as a potential asset Google might be able to leverage through its acquisition. He said together, Google and Motorola will be able to "accelerate convergence" in the market.



Executives made no specific mention of the struggling Google TV platform, but Motorola's existing presence in the set-top box market is a clear asset as Google attempts to enter the space. And their comments made clear that Motorola's TV-based hardware and established relationships with cable providers were a selling point in the multi-billion-dollar deal.

While the first generation of Google TV faltered, Apple has found moderate success, selling roughly a half-million units per quarter. But executives at Apple have famously referred to the Apple TV as a "hobby," because it is not in the same caliber of product as the iPhone, iPad, Mac or iPod.

Of course, Apple is already pushing the "convergence" touted by Google and Motorola executives with its own AirPlay technology, release late last year with iOS 4.2. The new Apple TV, powered by the same iOS mobile operating system as the iPhone and iPad, can receive audio and even high-definition video wirelessly from Apple's mobile devices, allowing content to be shown on the big screen.
post #2 of 73
Ya know, Moo-gles market cap today is : 179.92B (and fairly high P/E of 20). Apples is 355.46B (15 P/E)

Apple... just buy'm and take'm out. Get it over with.
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post #3 of 73
Motorola's set top box (STB) business will do nothing to stem Google's failure to launch Google TV, nor help against Apple TV.

Why? People don't buy STBs, corporations do. Corporations like Cox Cable and Comcast, who have their own content to peddle, and above all they don't need Google coming in trying to skim money (and viewers) off the top with Google TV bundled into their private-label STBs.
post #4 of 73
Interesting that your headlines pit everyone against Apple. Why Can't Google just realize an opportunity and go for it. When Apple brought forth smart phones, there were mobile phones available. Then they brought forth iPad, and created a new and exciting way to communicate better in a mobile way. Now everyone wants to beat Apple... at least according your headlines.

Wow
post #5 of 73
Um, GoogleTV and Motorola set-top boxes are so fundamentally different, it's not even funny. M-boxes are typically sold/rented by Cable companies to subscribers, to view/record cable subscriptions.

GoogleTV devices are (or were?) sold directly to consumers, specifically to AVOID cable subscriptions. It enabled users to view TV and movie shows without paying [or perhaps paying netflix and the like for movies].

The TV distribution companies decided to prevent GoogleTV from displaying their shows easily, and now all those GoogleTV devices are useless for their primary goal [of viewing TV for free].

Apple's device is more successful because it enables content producers to get paid [both TV and movie content] while making it easy for consumers to access what they want [except for various producers that intent on remaining in the DVD world, screw the internet].
post #6 of 73
Yes Motorola makes a lot of CATV boxes for the cablecos.

and the last thing the cablecos are going to do is let Google eat their lunch by cutting into their PPV and ad action via those boxes by packaging Google whatever into them. that ain't gonna happen.

Google TV's problem isn't the box anyway, it's the concept that "search" is what consumers want to do on their TV. it's not. they don't. they just want the content they want with as little effort and at as low a price as posssible. but searching for stuff is work.

Apple TV is much simpler. with iOS 5 whatever you can see/hear/do on your iPad you can put on your TV screen too. no stupid on-screen UI to fuss with. no clunky remote control (did you see that horrible Sony remote for Google TV?). now that's slick. using an iPad sitting on your sofa is fun already, not work. even when you really are searching for something. press the AirPlay button on the iPad and presto! there it is on your TV.

and for no extra charge. with no additional ads. and no mining of your personal data.
post #7 of 73
Convergence was the industry buzzword in 1999 when TiVo debuted. Still waiting...

The problem with GoogleTV isn't really the hardware or the clunky user interface. It's the lack of content deals combined with a fairly high price. Well, until Logitech slashed their prices, took a massive one-time write-off that erased their earnings, and their CEO left. But even a clearance-priced GoogleTV unit isn't going to fly off shelves when there's little to watch.
post #8 of 73
Just tho of the possibilities if Google ships a DVR with the ability to get apps and watch Netflix etc that is like a 10 bucks rental from Comcast. Content problem solved and Google now owns the settle box and Google tv critics are silenced. Quite a strategic acquisition.
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post #9 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

Motorola's set top box (STB) business will do nothing to stem Google's failure to launch Google TV, nor help against Apple TV.

Why? People don't buy STBs, corporations do. Corporations like Cox Cable and Comcast, who have their own content to peddle, and above all they don't need Google coming in trying to skim money (and viewers) off the top with Google TV bundled into their private-label STBs.

I think you're right but it does make me wonder if Apple could do well by licensing the AppleTV tech for set top boxes and TVs to get a fully integrated HEC.
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post #10 of 73
Google TV is trying to unseat Apple TV ... what is this ... a game of musical chairs?
post #11 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

Motorola's set top box (STB) business will do nothing to stem Google's failure to launch Google TV, nor help against Apple TV..


I agree but not for the reason you give.

Google's failure was with content and Motorola's hardware won't help with that if they keep up their game plan of doing what they want and asking permission after they get slapped over it

Apple on the other hand, has content deals in place with very likely more being worked on as we speak. And that content doesn't need a 'real' tv, Apple's little black box and folks current tv is just fine.
post #12 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

Yes Motorola makes a lot of CATV boxes for the cablecos.
and the last thing the cablecos are going to do is let Google eat their lunch by cutting into their PPV and ad action via those boxes by packaging Google whatever into them. that ain't gonna happen.

Totally agree with this. GoogleTV entered the arena and got b!tch-$lapped hard by the entertainment industry by blocking GoogleTV from accessing their content.

Now if Google thinks entering the market by hijacking Motorola's (crappy) cableTV boxes and stealthily inserting their Android software and advertising to go with it, providers like Comcast would probably dump Motorola for another manufacturer.

Google, keep dreaming.
post #13 of 73
Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility won't turn the Google TV frog into a prince.

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post #14 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by blursd View Post

Google TV is trying to unseat Apple TV ... what is this ... a game of musical chairs?

Damn. Beat me to it. That's exactly what I'm thinking.
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post #15 of 73
I was wondering if AI would have an article about this.

I disagree that this will help Google TV, as I'm seeing some analysis state. I believe, firmly, that this will, in the long term (these days, that means two years), kill it. Moto makes good money on their set top box business. It's one of the business's for them that's pretty reliable. But it totally relies on the goodwill of the cable companies.

If the producers of cable content don't want Google Tv to succeed, and they sell shows to the cable industry, who produces their own as well, how do you think they will present their case to Google about Google TV? I think they will tell them that they will buy boxes from Samsung and others instead of Motorola if they continue pushing Google TV.

Which would Google support? I think it would have to be the set top box business. That's actually a success.
post #16 of 73
Here's my spin on it: While it might be easy to get your content from an iPad onto your TV screen via an Apple TV, it's a real hassle to get content from your TV onto your mobile device. In Apple's ecosystem, one has to buy it through iTunes with no immediate connection to what one is watching.

Maybe Google integrates the means to seamlessly transfer the program you are watching onto your Android devices right along with the ads to lure the cable/content companies into the deal. Maybe add a cloud service along the lines of Google Music...?
post #17 of 73
I wouldn't call it "unseating Apple TV", I'd call it potentially moving this who-cares product category into the mainstream.

Instead of being threatened by Internet TV, cable co's could enter into revenue sharing agreements (both ads and content). Google provides the boxes, ads, and possibly even serve up some of the content. Cable co's then make money off of Internet TV instead of competing against it. Much like the evolution of TiVo, consumers would get a better (integrated) experience without having to buy (and hassle with) a separate box.

Aside from YouTube, what original content does GoogleTV have? Looks like most content now is provided by Netflix and Amazon Video.

Also, last I checked, RedBox is eating alive both the VOD and AppleTV-type services.

Unrelated note, will be interesting to see how long it takes for Motorola to start pumping out cable/DSL modems with Google Voice integrated...
post #18 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

Motorola's set top box (STB) business will do nothing to stem Google's failure to launch Google TV, nor help against Apple TV.

Why? People don't buy STBs, corporations do. Corporations like Cox Cable and Comcast, who have their own content to peddle, and above all they don't need Google coming in trying to skim money (and viewers) off the top with Google TV bundled into their private-label STBs.

Exactly. And service providers like Comcast and AT&T will only but STBs that work with their systems and their plans. I have Motorola STBs for U-verse, but they are based on Windows CE. You can't tell me that Google/Motorola will make AT&T abandon a Windows based rights system for one Google makes up. Carriers want control as always, someday this may give. Then again it may take 6 months to 2 years+ to realize whatever Goole envisions for this.
post #19 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Just tho of the possibilities if Google ships a DVR with the ability to get apps and watch Netflix etc that is like a 10 bucks rental from Comcast. Content problem solved and Google now owns the settle box and Google tv critics are silenced. Quite a strategic acquisition.

It's quite possible the only direction forward for Google is to now start acquiring cable companies.

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post #20 of 73
I love my Apple TV, but I am unsure what is going to be unseated. Sure it sold significantly more then Google TV, but it is not like Apple is the king of the set-top box.
post #21 of 73
AppleTV (in its current form) is a rounding error for Apple. Google/Motorola can have it (in its current form).

Although, I wager that they can't/won't.

And, when Apple introduces its TV, it will all be moot anyway.
post #22 of 73
Moto makes crappy set top boxes.
post #23 of 73
I like my Apple TV but Apple TV is going to stay a hobby if Apple treats it like one.

I feel like I am getting burnt again.

I bought the original and saw a few updates with really nothing new.

Same thing is happening with Apple TV 2.
post #24 of 73
Does  care? TV is still only a hobby until  makes an announcement that TV is now mainstream.
post #25 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by RolandG View Post

Here's my spin on it: While it might be easy to get your content from an iPad onto your TV screen via an Apple TV, it's a real hassle to get content from your TV onto your mobile device. In Apple's ecosystem, one has to buy it through iTunes with no immediate connection to what one is watching.

Maybe Google integrates the means to seamlessly transfer the program you are watching onto your Android devices right along with the ads to lure the cable/content companies into the deal. Maybe add a cloud service along the lines of Google Music...?

Bingo!


Quote:
Motorola's "Video Solutions" line of products also offer sharing of content. One product under that umbrella, "Televation," allows users to rebroadcast live TV to other devices in their home.

IMO, this is a very big deal!

If the cable STB can rebroadcast, say, 5 concurrent channels -- then everyone in the extended home has a personal TV in his iPad -- along with all the other goodies.

I don't know if Moogle will be strong enough to exclude * the iPad and other competitive devices.

Moogle executives should take great care what they say in public -- or in private documents.
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post #26 of 73
I posted this to another thread... but it seems more appropriate here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

But Google may have the same problems as Apple in pushing future versions of GoogleTV - cable companies and content owners are a difficult lot to negotiate with.

In re Google (with MMI STBs in their back pocket) negotiating with the cable companies...

I am reminded of the story of the woman in the dentist's chair -- As the dentist bends over her to drill, she grabs his testicles and says: Now, we're not going to hurt each other, are we?
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post #27 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

Motorola's set top box (STB) business will do nothing to stem Google's failure to launch Google TV, nor help against Apple TV.

Why? People don't buy STBs, corporations do. Corporations like Cox Cable and Comcast, who have their own content to peddle, and above all they don't need Google coming in trying to skim money (and viewers) off the top with Google TV bundled into their private-label STBs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatisgoingon View Post

Um, GoogleTV and Motorola set-top boxes are so fundamentally different, it's not even funny. M-boxes are typically sold/rented by Cable companies to subscribers, to view/record cable subscriptions.

GoogleTV devices are (or were?) sold directly to consumers, specifically to AVOID cable subscriptions. It enabled users to view TV and movie shows without paying [or perhaps paying netflix and the like for movies].

I think you're all missing the point. Google isn't concerned about devices, Google is concerned about how much information from you than can gather. They really couldn't care less if it's a rented set-top box or a purchased set-top box.

In all likelihood, I would guess that the end result will be convergence - one unit that will do what both Google and Motorola set-top boxes currently do - and siphon off even more data about the users.

The more I think about it, the scarier this becomes- ESPECIALLY since the user does not normally get to choose their rented set-top box. The cable company gets a good deal on buying a million set-top boxes - and your private life belongs to Google.
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post #28 of 73
This is a moronic viewpoint. Even for AI.

First off, Apple TV (and I own one), is nothing all that great. It's a box that let's you play your iTunes content and Netflix. I turn it on once a week, maybe. I watch TV far more often. And I watch DVR'ed content far more often.

Google TV was a far more ambitious project. And one that is sorely needed. Anything is better than the useless cableco STBs you get today (particularly the archaic ones we get up here in Canada).

Google TV didn't just fail because of a lack of content deals. It failed because of a fundamental flaw in the concept: people don't want yet another box in the house. However, if Google TV were to be offered by the cableco, you can bet there's lots of people who would embrace it. After all, if the option at your cable store is between a plain old box and a Google TV DVR, what would you pick?

The problem for Google is getting cablecos to embrace Google TV. And Google may yet be able to do it. Indeed, the fact that they don't have content deals might turn out to be a blessing in disguise. They can offer to help make cableco content more visible through search. They get the data they want, the cablecos get visibility for their content.

It's a risky play. But Google will now have a shot at negotiating directly working with cablecos. It's a once-in-a-lifetime shot, just as all the cablecos are transitioning to IPTV. Google will have to come up with a pitch where the cablecos benefit too. If they can do it, expect to see Google TV STBs and DVRs becoming quite normal in living rooms worldwide.
post #29 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by sip View Post

Does  care? TV is still only a hobby until  makes an announcement that TV is now mainstream.

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post #30 of 73
Google tv failed, IMHO, b/c people thought they could get any da** tv show anytime they wanted. That of course, continuing with my theory, would totally sc**w the hell out of the business model set up between the advertisers and the networks.
Look, tv "IS" advertising incarnate. The networks don't need Google in the middle fu***** with their tried and true business model.
post #31 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Bingo!

IMO, this is a very big deal!

If the cable STB can rebroadcast, say, 5 concurrent channels -- then everyone in the extended home has a personal TV in his iPad -- along with all the other goodies.

I don't know if Moogle will be strong enough to exclude * the iPad and other competitive devices.

Moogle executives should take great what they say in public -- or in private documents.

Dick, congrats on #4000, but this post not a winner.

no way the cablecos are going to let Google package their content ever, in any way, period. any further extension of cableco services to other digital devices, mobile, cloud, whatever, they will totally control and, of course, monetize 100% for themselves. that's already starting, slowly, with apps like Xfinity. as others have written, the cablecos will offer their app content "free" in order to shore up their overpriced cable subscription rates (except PPV of course). at least for a while, as long as they can hold out from an a la carte pricing system instead.

and very good alternatives like Slingbox already exist. $300 just once for the hardware/app, plug into your CATV STB or DVR output, no subscription, then watch on any computer or mobile device, watch anything anywhere. we use it a lot. works great on iPad and can hook it up to any TV via HDMI (or via Apple TV with iOS 5). even works with 3G when out and about. or i could watch my home TV right now on my office workstation (but that would be bad!).
post #32 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

Google tv failed, IMHO, b/c people thought they could get any da** tv show anytime they wanted. That of course, continuing with my theory, would totally sc**w the hell out of the business model set up between the advertisers and the networks.
Look, tv "IS" advertising incarnate. The networks don't need Google in the middle fu***** with their tried and true business model.

So you self-censor screw but not Hell? What the heck?

The forum doesn't automatically stop people from swearing, but if you plan to win arguments or have a respected opinion, it's not suggested.

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post #33 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

First off, Apple TV (and I own one), is nothing all that great. It's a box that let's you play your iTunes content and Netflix.

you must not have any iThings. AirPlay works great. and iPad Screen Mirroring in iOS 5 will be a killer feature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

The problem for Google is getting cablecos to embrace Google TV.

that ain't a problem, that's an impossibility. the cablecos want a direct sales connection to all their customers to squeeze every penny out of the relationship. they never want to go through any middleman. especially the world's biggest content vampire, Google.
post #34 of 73
Simple question for clarification: Why are motorola's set top boxes part of their mobility line? Shouldn't they be part of standard motorola, the part google isn't trying to buy?
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post #35 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdaddyguido View Post

Simple question for clarification: Why are motorola's set top boxes part of their mobility line? Shouldn't they be part of standard motorola, the part google isn't trying to buy?

That's just the way Moto spun off the two companies.
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post #36 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I think you're all missing the point. Google isn't concerned about devices, Google is concerned about how much information from you than can gather.

That may be the case, but they still need to get the cableco's to sign up for the deal.

Besides, the article was about how the Motorola STB business impacts Google TV...

That is to say, not at all.
post #37 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

That's just the way Moto spun off the two companies.

Fair enough. Seems so counter-intuitive but I guess it doesn't matter.

Also, mad props to the hipster apple tv, made me laugh.

I recently helps a friend setup the apple tv, it's way more awesome than I anticipated. AirPlay is awesome, especially using airflick. I don't see this helping the google tv at all, unless google completely changes direction. No matter what, the masses don't want to search the net on their tv, the Internet is personal, that's why we use it with laptops, tablets and phones.
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post #38 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

Dick, congrats on #4000, but this post not a winner.

no way the cablecos are going to let Google package their content ever, in any way, period. any further extension of cableco services to other digital devices, mobile, cloud, whatever, they will totally control and, of course, monetize 100% for themselves. that's already starting, slowly, with apps like Xfinity. as others have written, the cablecos will offer their app content "free" in order to shore up their overpriced cable subscription rates (except PPV of course). at least for a while, as long as they can hold out from an a la carte pricing system instead.

and very good alternatives like Slingbox already exist. $300 just once for the hardware/app, plug into your CATV STB or DVR output, no subscription, then watch on any computer or mobile device, watch anything anywhere. we use it a lot. works great on iPad and can hook it up to any TV via HDMI (or via Apple TV with iOS 5). even works with 3G when out and about. or i could watch my home TV right now on my office workstation (but that would be bad!).

I wasn't clear! I do not believe that the cablecos will allow Moogle to mess with or repackage their content -- anymore than they let MMI do it.

What I was trying to say, is that the hardware may already exist that would allow a single MMI STB to deliver multiple, concurrent TV channels to WiFi devices.

We have uverse and we have no such capability.

I read somewhere that ComCast allows streaming TV (Live, Movie, recorded) from their STB to an iPad app.

To me, it just isn't worth the pain to back to ComCast -- and I am hoping that ATT will eventually offer a similar service.

As I see it, the key to all this is the Personal TV -- where each family member anywhere around the house/garage/basement/yard can be watching whatever TV show he wants to watch on his iPad -- regardless of what the others are watching. This is in addition to any who choose to communally gather around a single TV to watch, a movie or soccer match.

We have an iPad for each family member -- 2 adults and 3 kids (11, 12, 16). They usually are doing their own thing -- NetFlix, some YT, StreamToMe from any of our Macs... Everything but Cable TV (Live or otherwise).


I didn't go into detail, but if Moogle promotes this (I think they should) to deliver Personal TV to Android Tablets... I don't believe that the cablecos would allow Moogle to restrict it to Android tablets only -- especially when they are grossly outnumbered by iPads.

Then, the user could choose content from the CableCo via the Moogle STB or the AppleTV connected to:

1) Alternate live or recorded TV sources
2) Personal Home media library

The irony is that the Moogle STB could unlock the "go to market" solution for ATV.


And, If they don't... guess who could?

Convoluted, huh? Just like the cable TV system.


Just think:

-- Sis in her room watching a Friends rerun
-- Older Bro, wherever, watching a Transformers movie
-- Younger Bro on the patio watching Sponge Bob
-- Mom in the kitchen watching Oprah and switching to Two Fat Ladies
-- Dad in the shop, watching New Yankee Workshop
-- Grandpa on the throne watching Fox News
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post #39 of 73
I so wish they traded stocks for the failure of a venture *I would buy that stock against Google TV + Motorola in a heartbeat!
post #40 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

you must not have any iThings. AirPlay works great. and iPad Screen Mirroring in iOS 5 will be a killer feature.

You're right. I don't own any iDevices (old iPod nano aside). So it's Mac and Apple TV for me.

However, even if I had an iPhone/iTouch/iPad and was using AirPlay, do you really think this is going to displace the current cableco Motorola/Scientific Atlanta cable box?

This is AI, so everything has to be spun as an attack on Apple. But Google is aiming to displace that cable box. They don't give a hoot about Apple TV. Nor should they. As long as Apple TV has no facility to handle live TV, it will never displace the humble STB.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

that ain't a problem, that's an impossibility. the cablecos want a direct sales connection to all their customers to squeeze every penny out of the relationship. they never want to go through any middleman. especially the world's biggest content vampire, Google.

Anybody will make a deal for the right price. The billion dollar question is whether Google can afford what the cablecos want. Do you really think they fear Google more than say Netflix (which now has more subs than Comcast in the USA)? Indeed, making content searchable and accessible and making PPV content more easy to find for example, better data on what viewers are searching for, etc. are all ideas that are in the best interests of the cablecos and could help them compete with the likes of Netflix or Amazon Prime.

If Google can come up with a worthwhile deal for them, they'll take it. The question is whether Google can come up with a worthwhile deal for them.

Also, while it's easy to conflate them, the cablecos and the cable networks don't necessarily have interests that line up. The networks are content creators who probably see Google as more of a long-term threat. Though, I'd be cautious about taking their side. They remind me of the music industry in the 90s, arguing against iTunes and the iPod. The cablecos on the other hand also have to worry about many alternative avenues of content delivery that could pop up. Google could be a threat for them. But it could also present a fantastic opportunity to reinvent themselves as content distributors.
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