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August 10, 2007

Google Video Store Closes. The End of DRM Is Closer

On the same day when Universal Music decided to experiment with DRM-free MP3 downloads, Google announces the closing of its video store.

New York Times reports that "Universal Music Group will sell a significant portion of its catalog without the customary copy protection software" in the most important digital music retail services, with the significant exception of Apple's iTunes. EMI started to sell DRM-free music on iTunes in April.

The video store launched in January 2006 by Google is about to close. "Google Video is the first open video marketplace where any video producer, large or small, can upload their content and distribute it for free or at a price. Video prices are set by the content provider with no minimum or maximum dollar-limit. Owners also have the choice to offer their content with or without copy protection – enabling them greater control over its distribution," announced Google at launch. Unfortunately, very few videos were available for sale and some initial content providers decided to leave Google Video.

Here are some excerpts from an email sent to Google Video customers a couple of hours ago:

"In an effort to improve all Google services, we will no longer offer the ability to buy or rent videos for download from Google Video, ending the DTO/DTR (download-to-own/rent) program. This change will be effective August 15, 2007. To fully account for the video purchases you made before July 18, 2007, we are providing you with a Google Checkout bonus."

To play copy-protected videos, Google Video required to use a special media player and to log in to your Google account. "Copy-protected videos are encrypted files. To decrypt these files and allow you to view the video's content, the Google Video Player needs to communicate with Google over an active Internet connection." Google Video Player is no longer available, but you can still upload videos.

It's interesting to watch Larry Page's CES keynote from 2006 and see how many things have changed since Google Video's launch:

{ Thank you, Shivan. }


  1. I don't think this means the Store is closing, it's just the DRM part of the store that is closing.

    Content owners will probably be suggested to accept providing the same video content DRM-free, and I expect from Google to come with different monetization solutions for video very soon. Such as advertising in videos but also monthly membership fees for high access and easier one-click pay-per-view micropayment.

  2. Google is thinking of closing its Video Store possibly because:
    (1)They have some serious copy protection issues,
    (2)The "paid" Video Store is a small part of it's larger Video Offerings and most of these are FREE
    But,they could have looked at a better model to monetize the contents by inserting video advertisements that are paid by advertisers so the viewer is able to watch the "paid" contents "free" like he receives Cable or DTH broadcasts.
    A more robust DRM would also help Google get over the issues with content owners/providers.