Last week UPN found a partner to launch its most-talked-about show: Google. Streaming the premiere of "Everybody Hates Chris" on Google Video is likely to be the first of numerous TV deals struck by the search giant. The deal comes hot on the heels of other Google initiatives to get into the print advertising business and other controversial moves to digitize entire libraries of books.
According to Jennifer Feikin, director of Google Video, "Chris" is the first network show to air in full. "We're talking to a large majority of networks and studios and we're just as interested in back catalog." Feikin declined to state whether there was any exchange of money involved in the deal, though it seems unlikely since there are no fees for watching the content. Google Video (which can be seen at video.google.com) offered the premiere episode only until Sept. 29, when the second episode aired on TV. "In the next phase of Google Video, we'll have a product that will enable payment," said Feikin, who explained that all parties were trying to establish how to make money from making such content available. Google, it seems, is looking to beat the likes of peer-to-peer file-sharing system BitTorrent to the punch, which is threatening to do for the TV and movie business what Napster did for the music industry. BitTorrent, however, gained some greater financial legitimacy with a private-equity infusion last week.