Google's YouTube ready to join pay-per-view fray

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) executives are declining to comment on reports that the search engine giant's YouTube unit is negotiating with Hollywood studios to stream movies for a new $5 a pop pay-per-view service.

The streaming play would put Google more on par with Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and its Apple TV (or iTV as that company would like to call it) and Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) , which has already inked its own studio deal. It would probably not have a major impact on cable and satellite providers who deliver PPV movies as part of video-on-demand packages that can be easily accessed via on-screen program guides. The hassle factor alone--you'd have to access the Google streams on some form of computer then either watch it on a computer screen or figure some way to get it to your TV--could stunt any real impact to cable from the service.

Still, the reports are yet more signs that Google, generally through YouTube, wants into the video business and is willing to take the steps to get there. The wider, longer term view is that this movement will gain credibility with program suppliers and customers alike as more televisions include Internet access as a competitive measure to cable's closed set-top box business.

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