Google TV looks to be on the verge of creating an app marketplace specifically for video channels much like Boxee and Roku have. In a recently updated patent (20110321072) they describe a system that, “…allows content providers to create channels of video content and make them available to users in a marketplace. Users can search or browse for channels of interest, and selectively subscribe to channels.”

So it’s pretty much an app marketplace specifically for content channels it seems. It will include a way for users to “… pay for the right to view premium videos in each channel,” which sounds like purchase or rental but could extend to subscriptions as well.

But what’s to keep us as users from being overwhelmed by content channels on the marketplace? A ranking system that is also included in the patent.

The system ranks channels according to the value provided. Generally, users will seek out and subscribe to the highest ranked channels that provide the greatest value.

What this made me think of was, an app for each YouTube partner channel where you could just pick and choose instead of having to go and type in all the channels you wanted to watch. But what I found to be extremely interesting and perhaps might be a jab at Apple’s rumored IPTV service and at cable and satellite providers was this:

The system operator can also create bundled channels containing videos from multiple providers, and the resulting subscription revenue can be distributed to the various providers of the videos in the channel.

Huh…sounds like cable TV, but better, right? You can buy a bundle subscription as well as a la carte channels of content you’re interested in.

 Figure: illustrates one screen layout of a subscriber interface displaying detailed information about an individual channel to a prospective subscriber.

Google is all about the underlying technology of course and so they are patenting the system that will

  • rank and promote subscription video channels
  • determine the usage of the subscription channels
  • monitor user viewing habits
  • manage and track user ratings, user comments, user help requests, and user fraud report
  • allowing subscribers to subscribe to the new subscription channel; determining a channel value for the new subscription channel; and ranking the new subscription channel based on the channel value

In regards to the bundles, it will track viewer usage of the channels and receiving a price and an estimated proportional viewing time for each video in the bundled channel relative to the other videos in the bundled channel. So it sounds like it will not only bundle channels but also specific premium video content into unique channels and then dole out the money based on usage by the subscribers.

I know it says YouTube and I’m sure they’ll implement this there as well. They already have premium content but this takes it all a step forward, starts creating subscription channels out of premium content and then creates bundles of channels out of those subscription premium channels… i.e. an IPTV service much like cable except without the massive bundling of useless channels.

But if they’re going to do all of that on YouTube, then you can bet it will get incorporated into Google TV (and probably Google+ eventually) and allow you to watch all of that content from any screen.

So it seems that Google didn’t forget all that content blocking that the cable and satellite companies did in the past and is now looking to become a direct competitor. Don’t believe me? Check out this figure.

illustrates a screen layout of search results displayed in ranked order.

Sure looks like my channel lineup on cable.

Now this isn’t a new patent, it was first submitted 06/29/2010 but was more recently published. Since I just recently reported on Apple’s rumored attempts to create a la carte IPTV service I thought this was a good follow up to that. I sure hope TWC is watching because if you’re like me, there are only a couple channels you watch that aren’t represented in that image above yet you have to wade through 1000 other channels to get to them.

If Google does get this patent it might also put Apple in a sticky spot with their rumored service.