That’s why they call it beta … 19 months after a flashy debut for the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Video Store at CES, Google Video is dropping paid video completely. Not only that, users are being told that videos they have purchased through the service will not be accessible after August 15. Rented and purchased videos had to be viewed through the Google Video player and aren’t portable. A Google spokesman tells AP: “”The current change is a reaffirmation of our commitment to building out our ad-supported…models for video.” He wouldn’t say how many people bought videos through the service.
The AP says Google Video’s pay model was doomed by “the proliferation of free clips on other Web sites” including the one it acquired for $1.76 billion: YouTube. That’s tempting — but, despite the efforts of some very talented people, Google Video as an all-in-one video destination just didn’t work. The launch didn’t happen for several days after the huge burst of publicity and what little premium content the store offered — CBS, Charlie Rose, ITN, NBA — was hard to find. At the same time, YouTube gained steam as a user-gen destination, networks started to offer broadband streams of their shows as well as download-to-own, iTunes caught on for video purchases/downloads — and Google’s own efforts in online video advertising gathered steam.
AP sees this as an example of Google’s willingness to close something that isn’t working. It’s also another example of Google’s fallibility.
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