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Google Play: New Monetization Initiatives

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Google looking to expand Play Store presence

In a previous part of this series, we discovered why growth in Google’s (GOOG) (GOOGL) Other segment slowed dramatically in 4Q14. At the same time, Google has started taking steps to better monetize Google Play.

In the December quarter, the company expanded the reach of Google Play’s main features. Google Play movies are now available in 102 countries, music in 58 countries, and books in 65 countries, as the chart below shows. Google brought music subscription services to Google Play Music, offering over 30 million songs. In December, the company also partnered with Sony (SNE) to bring its digital content over to Google Play.

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Google looks to partner with telecom companies

Another initiative—partnerships with telecom companies—allows carriers to charge users for app and content purchased from Google Play by directly billing them to their accounts. Google is already partnering with all major US carriers in this initiative, including Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T), and Sprint (S).

Google is looking for similar partnerships in Europe (EFA) and Asia. The company is optimistic about its prospects in these markets. This sort of billing process could become even more popular abroad because credit card penetration in some areas is still low.

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