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Google makes vid bid

Search giant will sell your stuff for a cut

Google could soon become the best-stocked videostore on the planet.

At the Consumer Electronics Show on Friday, the search giant revealed details of its new video offering that will, as expected, sell downloads of CBS programs and NBA games (Daily Variety, Jan. 6).

However, in a move with broader implications, company said its Google Video Store will let anyone upload and sell video at any price they choose. Google will take 30% of revenue and pass the rest on to the content owner.

Thus, while Google is drawing attention for its premium content deals, the more significant impact of its new offering could be to let independent and amateur filmmakers sell their video to a worldwide audience on their own terms.

“From the largest studio to smaller independents, content producers are in charge,” said Google co-founder and prexy of products Larry Page, who unveiled Google Video Store in a Friday keynote address at which he was briefly joined by CBS topper Leslie Moonves.

Apple currently lets anyone offer video for free through iTunes but only sells content from big media companies like Disney and NBC Universal.

Google is also exploring ways to integrate video advertising, though it hasn’t completed such a system. That means in the near future, video producers may be able to distribute their content for free through Google and earn a cut of ad revenue.

Netco plans to open its videostore to all sellers within a few weeks. When it launched over the weekend, it offered content only from big media partners, who negotiated individual deals and may be getting more than the standard 70% of revenue.

CBS will offer skeins “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race,” “CSI” and “NCIS” online the day after they air. Newly independent company also is selling through Google classic shows such as “I Love Lucy,” “The Brady Brunch,” “The Twilight Zone,” “MacGyver,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: Voyager.”

It’s the first broad online distribution deal for CBS. Because the Google pact is nonexclusive, the Eye net may still sign with iTunes or other providers.

The NBA will offer every game on Google Video Store the day after it’s played, as well as several famous games from the league’s history.

Google is using its own media player and optional antipiracy technology for the video. As a result, when content owners choose to protect against piracy, buyers won’t be able to transfer the video to portable devices that have different software, like the iPod Video and Sony PSP.

“We’re talking to everyone,” Jennifer Felkin, director of Google Video, told Daily Variety. “TV is more of a natural, but we are also talking to studios and want to get feature films.”

Selling movies undoubtedly will be trickier than TV shows, as studios have complex relationships in more windows for films. Thus far, Internet video-on-demand for movies has been on restrictive terms at Netcos like Movielink.

Currently, Google allows only searches of video that is submitted to it or that it sells. It’s working on technology, however, to allow search of video on other Web sites, as Yahoo! already does.

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