Will Google or Apple Win the War for Your Living Room?
Nov 7th 2011 10:25PM
Updated Nov 7th 2011 10:26PM
There's a war on the horizon to invade your living room. The main marauders will be none other than Google (NAS: GOOG) and Apple (NAS: AAPL) , aiming to pillage the plunders of current inhabitants like Time Warner Cable (NYS: TWC) , AT&T (NYS: T) , and DISH Network (NAS: DISH) .
Big G and Cupertino are undoubtedly arming their forces as we speak, although their flanking strategies will differ. Apple will predictably go with a fully integrated approach like an Apple TV set, which CBS (NYS: CBS) CEO Les Moonves practically confirmed has been in the works when he accidentally dropped an interesting tidbit during a recent conference call that his company had turned down an ad-based content deal with Apple over the ad-splitting terms.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is prepping its foray into the paid-cable-TV service market. The company previously announced a project to offer high-speed Internet service, starting in Kansas City. Kan., and its neighboring city in Missouri.
The gigabit fiber network would have 10 times the potential speed capabilities of current networks, and throwing in phone, courtesy of Google Voice, and TV service would round out the offering to compete with AT&T Uverse, Time Warner's Road Runner, or Verizon (NYS: VZ) FiOS, for starters. It could also displace satellite-TV service providers such as DISH Network and DirecTV (NAS: DTV) .
Google is supposedly in talks with media titans such as Walt Disney (NYS: DIS) , Time Warner (NYS: TWX) , and Discovery Communications (NAS: DISCA) to bring their respective channels onboard, although the talks are still in the early stages, with nothing set in stone.
Google's been trying to upgrade YouTube into a premium offering for a while, and it would probably play a role in the encore after the initial failed attempt. Don't forget that soon-to-be subsidiary Motorola Mobility (NYS: MMI) is a huge player in the set-top0box market to leverage.
Google has all the pieces of the puzzle lined up; the real question is whether it can stitch them all together into a cohesive and compelling value proposition to all the interested parties. It's a massive $150 billion industry to disrupt, when you include all the spending from advertisers and monthly fees that consumers fork over.
It will have to somehow juggle the interests of content providers, advertisers, and consumers while the incumbents fight with all their might to maintain the status quo, all while Apple gears up its own advances.
The battle will be bloody, and there will be casualties. Who do you think will win? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.
At the time this article was published Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Walt Disney, Apple, and AT&T, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Walt Disney, and Google and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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