Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) said Friday that it struck deals with Showtime Networks and Starz which will allow it to distribute packages of premium channels to subscribers in the Kansas City area who sign up for its upcoming Google Fiber TV service.
The Internet giant said that subscribers who order its $120 monthly service, which comes with a wideband Internet service offering download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, will be able to get 17 Starz channels for an additional $10 monthly. Google will also charge subscribers $10 monthly to watch Dexter, Weeds and other series available on a multiplex of 11 channels from Showtime.
Google lacks distribution deals with several key programmers, including top premium network HBO, ESPN parent Disney (NYSE: DIS) and ESPN Media Networks and News Corp.'s (Nasdaq: NWSA) Fox Networks Group. The company says it has agreements to carry 185 channels in its core "Gigabit + TV" package, including Viacom's (NYSE: VIA) Comedy Central and MTV, Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA) NBCUniversal Cable Networks, and networks owned by Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA).
Google said in a Twitter post on Sunday that it has received the minimum number of pre-registrations from 62 neighborhoods (or "fiberhoods") in the Kansas City area that are required for it to begin construction of its fiber-to-the-home network. The company will challenge incumbents Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and AT&T's (NYSE: T) U-verse TV in the Kansas City area.
- see the Google blog post
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