updated 05:55 pm EST, Fri December 3, 2010
Google acquires Widevine for movie service DRM
Google on Friday virtually confirmed plans for its larger YouTube movie service through word it had bought out Widevine. Its second buyout of the day will provide copy protection and security for streaming movies as well as optimization. No specific plans were given, but Google made clear that Widevine was key to getting major studio movies and TV shows.
"Streaming is rapidly becoming the standard way for you to find the content you want to watch now," Google Product Management VP Mario Queiroz said. "We've seen this on YouTube -- where we get over 2 billion views every day -- but it's much bigger than that, as proven by the increasing popularity of movie subscription services and tablets... many [services] require high-quality video and audio, secure delivery, and other content protection and video optimization technologies. With these tools in place they can easily and effectively give you access to the rich library of content you want to watch, with the immediacy you've come to expect."
Widevine wouldn't drop any of its existing relationships and would also take on newer clients as well.
Google is already running a fledgling movie rental service but has so far been limited to independent movies and shorts that don't object to lighter copy protection schemes. In trying to monetize YouTube, however, it has been pressing for more popular titles and has hired a Netflix executive to help negotiate contracts. Miramax is an early target and could provide movies like the Kill Bill range.
A formal launch is still distant but could help Google make up for a deficit both on the desktop and in mobile. Apple has had the advantages of iTunes music and videos both in its desktop apps and iOS devices where Android has to turn to third-party alternatives. It may also be vital for the upcoming Chrome OS unveiling with full-length movie access on the cloud-based platform dependent entirely on streaming.