As stated in a recent blog post Google Fiber will be successful dependent on its ability to procure adequate programming to compete against incumbents Time Warner Cable and AT&T U-Verse. The newcomer took a step in that direction by adding both STARZ and Showtime to its programming mix for potential Kansas City customers. In addition, the company signaled sixty-two neighborhoods have registered the minimum number of potentials to begin building fiber to those areas.
Google’s current channel line-up includes a 185 channel package including premiums like Showtime multiplex, The Movie Channel, and Flix; STARZ multiplex, Encore, IndiePlex, RetroPlex, MoviePlex; and Hispanic Univision tlnovelas, Bandamax, and Telehit. Their non-premium offerings are a mix of popular channels absent some of the more highly rated standards.
It is a milestone for Google Fiber, yet a small one, in reaching the goal of successfully competing with entrenched Pay TV operators enjoying existing contracts with the major networks like HBO, Discovery Networks, Disney-ESPN, and others. Without comparative market programming, the Gigabit broadband offering will be a standalone service, while competitors offer bundled broadband, and digital TV in their mix. Again, to state the obvious, Google must be able to compete on a level playing field for any kind of success.
Google Fiber Project broadband speeds are a market differentiator, but completing the whole package on an apples-to-apples basis is essential. That entails looking closely at its local competitor offerings, including Pay TV, and Mobile services, creating a bundled package that both competes and differentiates from the incumbents.
As a newcomer Google Fiber initiated a pre-register program of each neighborhood in Kansas City. Those areas were expected to register enough potential customers to qualify for the fiber build-out which has yet to begin. Expectedly sixty-two neighborhoods have qualified to become part of the Google experience signing the minimum needed to get the project rolling. These are important but small milestones in the long-term success needed for the initiative. Going forward we will continue to watch will market trends with close anticipation.