Google's year-long shopping spree continues as it scoops up video technology company Widevine. This company is a digital media management platform with DRM, video optimization and other services that help to protect online digital content. Could this be the beginning of a new, more premium-content focused online video attack by big G? YouTube has been, for the most part, user-driven. Google has been looking to take it into the premium content delivery scene as well. It seems that they might now be beefing up their stream adaptability and content security with this latest acquisition which would give them some strong and industry-tested DRM capabilities.
We all know how delicate the MPAA and RIAA are about people brazenly flaunting copyright rules and pirating all the latest and greatest they have to offer. So it makes sense that if Google and YouTube are going to be the new premium delivery service, they're going to need some serious security to get those worrywarts to move.
But perhaps Google isn't really planning on making a one-stop-shop for all your online video content like TV and film. We saw the back-stabbing nature that is Hollywood lately when a group of studios got together to talk about what they see as the Netflix problem. So it seems like, Google, being Google, they might see potential to step in and offer another solution.
While many of us would like one site to get all of our premium video content, we don't often think of YouTube as being that place, nor do we think of Google as being the supplier of it. However, with their massive online video viewership, they do seem like the perfect company to get involved in the distribution of other content that would appeal to those video viewers.
Google, as always, is being mum on their plans for integrating Widevine into their existing operations but I instantly saw several possibilities when I read about the acquisition.
Chris' Top 5 Ways For Google to Use Widevine Tech
- Begin expanding DRM offerings on YouTube streams to help prevent piracy.
- Integrate the Widevine multiplatform DRM into YouTube for premium (paid) content delivery (to help generate revenue).
- Use their wide reach and vast technological base to create a white label streaming video offering and aim it at major TV and film studios. No more sharing revenue with Hulu or letting Netflix run rampant as some studios think it is doing.
- Fit it into their Google TV initiative and begin offering some form of video-on-demand service which then sees broadcasters who have been blocking the service to jump on board.
- Android TV - Secure streams to any Android device (because of the hardware partners that Widevine has already, see below) VODroid anyone? Video-on-Demandroid!
Now, it's interesting to note that Netflix already licenses Widevine's multiplatform DRM, as does AT&T U-verse and DirecTV.
Other major customers:
- Best Buy (for their video service)
- Deutsche Telekom (that's T-Mobile for most people)
- DISH Network
- Zip.ca (Canada's leading online video rental service)
They also have major hardware partners that include JVC, Samsung, D-Link and Zyxel meaning that Google might be on the road to making a bid on an end-to-end solution including distribution and hardware in an attempt to offer the most secure video streaming service that is able to compete with anyone out there.
Video-on-Demandroid (coined by me just today) is my favorite and Widevine's other major tech would fit right into that. Aside from the DRM stuff they also have video optimization which includes adaptive streaming and HTTP Progressive Download in Streamed Media Experience.
Perhaps, they're making an end run at iTunes in the process. With Android being both in the homes via Google TV and in people's pockets via tablets and smartphones, it could be a new way to buy once and view anywhere. I would be down with an Android-powered VOD service, but only if they give me credit for Video-on-Demandroid when they use it.
Google also purchased speech synthesis firm Phonetic Arts as well last week.