Google Expands Online Video Bazaar

Google CEO Larry Page introduces Google Video Store Friday, Jan. 6, 2006 at the Consumer Electronics Show, CES, in Las Vegas.
Google Inc. is upping the ante in the online video gold rush, allowing content owners to set their own prices in a bid to create a more flexible alternative to Apple Computer Inc.'s pioneering iTunes store.

Google's planned video expansion, announced Friday at the Consumer Electronics Show, already has lined up commitments to sell thousands of downloads, including recent television broadcasts of popular CBS shows and professional basketball games, as well as vintage episodes from series that went off the air decades ago. A launch date for the expansion has not been released.

"Who would have thought that these two brands, CBS and Google, would ever have been on the same stage at the same time? The marriage of content and new ways of getting the content to people," said CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves.

CBS News technology consultant Larry Magid talks to Jennifer Feikin, director of Google Video, about Google's video store and Marissa Mayer, Google's director of product management for consumer products, about Google's new software package.

Moonves, appearing on stage with Google co-founder Larry Page on Friday, spoke to a sell-out crowd, a turnout usually only seen by technology luminaries such as Microsoft's Bill Gates. Moonves said both companies "are taking that new leap forward."

Taking direct aim at software giant Microsoft, Google is also rolling out a free package of software designed to make your computer easier to use, reports CBS News correspondent Sandra Hughes.

Since Apple began selling video downloads for its iconic iPod in October, a flurry of companies have joined forces to distribute TV programming or other video content. The company says it currently offers more than 3,000 music videos and 300 television shows for sale.

Google's flexible pricing model sets its service apart.

Apple dictates all the pricing in its iTunes store, charging $1.99 for each video download and 99 cents for each song downloaded. The restrictions already have caused considerable consternation in the music recording industry and eventually could trigger a backlash on the video side.

With Google's marketplace, content suppliers can name their own price, from zero on up. The content owners who charge for video downloads must share 30 percent of the revenue with Google.

The video providers have the option of offering content on a download-to-own or download-to-rent basis.

In a sign that content owners will likely pursue different approaches through Google Video, the National Basketball Association will sell broadcasts of its games one day after the event for $3.95. Meanwhile, public television staple Charlie Rose will post his interviews the day after a broadcast, allowing a free streaming for the first 24 hours then making it downloadable afterward for 99 cents each. Meanwhile, CBS is selling episodes of its popular "CSI" and "Survivor" series at the standard iTunes price of $1.99 per download.