Google Fiber adds ESPN, Disney in KC... does it have your attention now?

by | Sep. 12, 2012

Written by Jim O’Neil, Research Analyst

Time Warner Cable may be the biggest pay-TV provider in Kansas City – it has about 33 percent of the market – but it has to be feeling pressure from Google Fiber, which has just announced it has signed a deal with Disney to bring 15 of its networks, including ESPN, to the pay-TV service Google is offering.

In case you’ve been out of the country, or too busy getting ready for the new iPhone, Google is set to launch a $70/month pay-TV service, which includes a couple of hundred channels, offers Showtime, several specialty networks and, now, ESPN, in Kansas City. It also includes the NFL Network, something TWC doesn’t have. For an extra $50 a month, customers can also get 1 Gbps symmetrical Internet. The $120 deal is looking more and more like the "next big thing."

Time Warner Cable has lost a lot of subscribers in recent years, more than 1 million since 2008. It could easily lose that many more in the next five years, perhaps more now that it’s going toe-to-toe with Google – and with a product that’s more expensive and is looking less attractive by comparison.

Pundits have pointed out that with “just” $45 billion in the bank, Google’s not really in the position to wire the rest of the country. Why would it need to? It can become a significant power in the industry if all it does is cherry pick the markets it sees as vulnerable. Isn’t that a little scary?

Tags: google, pay tv

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