Google CEO Eric Schmidt has insisted that it is 'unlikely' the company's enthusiasm for video will see it competing for television rights with the traditional broadcasters.

Speaking just hours before the announcement of Google TV, Google's attempts to create a television platform using internet connected devices, Schmidt said that it was unlikely that television rights - and in particular sports TV, would be competed for by the company.

"My own opinion is it's unlikely that we would go and then start competing with the traditional broadcast networks for sports rights," said Schmidt at a Google Zeitgeist round-table this week.

"That's not our business. It's more a question of can we build a platform which they can use to get even broader functions and even broader rights."

Provider

"I would much rather be the platform provider to those people than to compete with them," he continued

"If you think of YouTube as a new way of getting content out that people who own distribution rights can use that we can help them monetise, that's a much better model.

"And all the conversations we've had with them they really like this because they are looking for growth in their markets, and they pay all this money for the rights and their audiences are relatively stable, they want large communities."

Traditional relief

The news will come as a relief to some of the traditional giants in this area – including Sky, whose blockbuster bids for Premiership football, for example, have ensured that it stays at the pinnacle of UK sports broadcasting.

Even Sky, however, would struggle to compete with the might of Google, who now have a platform on which exclusive sports broadcasts could prove a major selling point.

However, the use of the word 'unlikely' rather than an unequivocal ruling out of bidding for television will not sit so well.