Google begins with sport on the road to ruling your TV
YouTube has been experimenting with streaming live broadcasts for some time now; the Google-owned site began last year with concerts and cricket matches from the Indian Premier League. Next up? More sport - on both sides of the Atlantic.
According to a Google executive, the company is in talks with the likes of the NBA and NHL in the US as well as European football leagues, with the aim of broadcasting more live sport towards the end of the year. This activity sits alongside another aim for YouTube, which is to offer longer clips of movies and shows.
What's in it for Google? A metric fuckton of cash, that's what. According to YouTube, the site is running advertisements on videos more than 3 billion times a week, a 50 percent increase in the past eight months. The average YouTube session is only 15 minutes long, but during their sports coverage the viewing time averaged 40 minutes - and longer viewing sessions means more ads served to eyeballs.
It's not surprising, since Google has been optimising YouTube and its content for years for television audience for years, beginning with YouTube XL. The launch of Google TV last year signalled their intent to push online integration into television - not to make profit from the required set-top boxes, but from serving up advertising alongside content. The more unique, in-demand content that Google can stream, the more money they can make.
It's the future, kids. Or at least, Google's vision of it.