Hey Hollywood, Google can secure your content

Google has agreed to acquire Widevine, a firm that offers digital-rights management and distribution tools that will likely come in handy as the search engine builds out its video services.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
2 min read
Google's acquisition of Widevine, a company that helps secure digital video, could make Google more attractive to Hollywood. Sarah Tew/CNET

At a time when Google is attempting to bolster its Web-video offerings, the company has agreed to acquire Widevine, a firm that provides digital-rights management and video distribution software.

Widevine's customers come from film studios, cable systems, and Web TV, Google said today on the company's blog.

"By forging partnerships across the entire ecosystem, Widevine has made on-demand services more efficient and secure for media companies," Google wrote. Financial terms were not disclosed.

A company that specializes in digital-rights management could come in handy for Google. The search engine is trying to license TV shows and films for YouTube's video rental store as well as for Google TV. The studios and networks have told Web video distributors that securing their content is a must if they want licensing deals.

Last month, Ted Sarandos, the Netflix exec in charge of acquiring content, told me the studios were perhaps overly concerned with protecting content. He suggested that the concern perhaps didn't match the actual threat. Consumers have shown that they want a high-quality viewing experience, a good price, and a "convenient distribution model, he said.

Still, Hollywood insists distributors adhere to very specific security requirements.

On another front, the acquisition also coincides with an announcement yesterday from the company that it will step up antipiracy measures. Google will now remove links to pirated material within 24 hours of being notified and will boot out AdSense members found to be trafficking in piracy.

News of a possible acquisition first leaked out last month at the blog Xconomy.