Google vid services logged for Europe

Pacts signed with Disney, ITV News, Talkback Thames

LONDON — With the rollout of video services in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain and Canada, Google has moved a step further in realizing its ambitions to compete with TV webs and community Web sites like YouTube.com.

New services, which follow the U.S. version of Google Video launched in January, enable users to watch and swap videos aimed at the European and Canadian markets.

Until now, all of Google’s video fare, including content from broadcasters and filmmakers, ran from the U.S. site.

Google has signed deals with a number of media combos, including Disney, London-based Independent Television News, Barcelona Football Club, U.K. indie Talkback Thames and the rights holders to Wimbledon tennis and Test Match cricket in Blighty.

Google wants the eight national editions to reflect local tastes. It’s up to the content providers whether to charge for the material, but Google will run ads alongside vids that are posted.

Many experts predict that search engines like Google could be the gateway through which auds watch TV in the future.

In the U.K. Google Video will face competition from broadcasters like Channel 4, due to launch a video-on-demand service in the fall, and the BBC, which has experimented with its iPlayer, which is expected to bow at the end of the year.

With an estimated 469 million users worldwide, Google thinks it is well placed to succeed because of its scale and flexible attitude toward content providers.

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