According to MediaMemo, Google might be looking to ink an agreement with networks to let YouTube stream TV shows -- for $1.99, just like iTunes (and Amazon).
Of course, when you pay iTunes $1.99 you get a local copy of the TV show on your PC -- to keep -- and the ability to view it from iTunes or Apple TV or iPhone or iPod and back. Now all those devices can hook into YouTube (it's built into Apple TV and iPhone/iPod touch) but do consumers really want to pay the same for a stream as a download, especially if there's no guarantee (yet?) that you can "pay once, stream forever on all devices"?
Executives at YouTube and TV insist that the disparity is simply a perception problem and cite studies showing that most people who download TV episodes only watch them once, anyway. But that’s a tough sell.
Um, yeah, no. I've watched some episodes of some shows a dozen or more times. Still, Google's a huge player, YouTube has a dominant streaming video footprint, and it will be interesting to see what, if any, deal emerges, and how this mythical service would compete with the mythical iTunes TV subscriptions we've also heard rumored.