Watch out, Comcast: Google is discussing a plan that could turn traditional cable on its head. The search giant is looking into providing video and phone services along with an already-announced high-speed Internet service in Kansas City, the Wall Street Journal reports—and the video service could include TV channels from Time Warner, Disney, Discovery, and others. With traditional cable providers looking for ways to control online content, the line between TV and the Internet keeps getting blurrier.
Google, which recently hired a former cable exec, is hoping for a chunk of the $150 billion TV ad and subscription market. As it stands, “TV is built on a closed system, which is why traditional cable and satellite operators are the only place where consumers can get ESPN and other channels,” says an ex-Google product director. But with TVs linked to the web, “Internet companies like Google will be able to give you that same high-quality content”—and may be able to charge less.