July 18, 2006

Should Google Buy Lion’s Gate Entertainment?

Here's an intriguing idea: GigaOm is encouraging Google to buy Vancouver-based Lion's Gate Entertainment, the leading indepedent movie studio outside of Hollywood. Why. It's based on the idea Google needs distribution rights for movies and television for its up and coming video service. For only $950-million (chump change for Google), GigaOm says the search engine giant could snap up Lion's Gate, which has a 5,500-title library featuring films such as “The Blair Witch
Project” and “Crash”, and the hit TV show, “Weeds”. Lion's Gate would give Google a large library and, as important, some bargaining clout with other video producers and distributors. After all, it's easier to trade when you've got something other people want, right?.
   One of the many fascinating things about Google-watching is speculating on its next move. With billions in the bank and a $122-billion market cap, Google can buy or do anything it wants. Lion's Gate would be an interesting strategic foray to enhance its video strategy. If you want to be really extreme and truly speculative about Google's video plans, maybe Google should buy YouTube and/or Tivo and/or Sling Media. Think of the what any or all of those moves would mean. A Google-YouTube deal, for example, would be truly fascinating. Google's power infrastructure could help YouTube address its growing distribution issues (100M video downloads a day has a strange way of making life more complicated), while YouTube could give Google lots of video content to enhance Google Video. The possibilities are endless.

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