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Google Addresses NFL-YouTube TV Deal Rumor

Chief business officer Nikesh Arora says 'we’re happy with where we are' on YouTube content strategy

Google reportedly has been in talks with the NFL about adding some kind of football package for Internet distribution via YouTube.

But asked about Google’s interest in investing in live sports — and specifically NFL programming — senior vice president and chief business officer Nikesh Arora hinted that while the company may have had talks with the league, it isn’t interested right now.

“Sure, we will talk to anybody who wants to talk to us about content,” Arora said on Google’s third quarter earnings call. “But for now, we’re happy with where we are.”

Google talks to content providers “all the time, because we understand that users come to YouTube so that they can enjoy both user-generated content and other forms of content, both short form and long form,” Arora said.

He added that Google is “pretty comfortable that we’re making great progress… We believe our content strategy on YouTube is working.”

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the NFL was considering adding a new slate of Thursday night games, and that it was in talks with potential partners including Netflix and Google. While league reps did not address whether the NFL has approached Internet distributors, they denied that additional Thursday games were in the cards:

Meanwhile, on Google’s Q3 call, CEO Larry Page noted that YouTube viewership continues to grow, with mobile devices now accounting for nearly 40% of the site’s traffic (up from 6% two years ago). Video ads now form a significant part of YouTube’s business, growing at more than 75% year over year, Arora said.