Google has never had much luck breaking into the TV business. Its latest foray, Google TV, could end up being a non-starter as well.
It’s hardly a big secret that TV networks and Google haven’t exactly seen eye-to-eye, but the battlefield has typically been within your web browser. In other words, Google’s turf.
Now that Google is taking the battle to your actual television set, the big networks are fighting back. In fact, they’re blocking you from using Google TV to access their content.
So, what’s actually going on here?
Well, Google TV–in all of its flavors–allows you to watch video content posted on the web, on your TV. It’s basically a browser for your TV set. In theory, that means any videos on the web, should be available on Google TV.
Except some of the biggest broadcasting companies are scared of Google muscling in on their turf…
…Walt Disney Co and NBC Universal confirmed on Thursday that the companies blocked access to the broadcast TV shows available on their websites from Google TV. Disney owns ABC network and cable TV business ESPN.
News Corp’s Fox is also considering blocking access to shows on its website…CBS has blocked access to full-length episodes of their programs…
So why are they blocking Google TV? Well, it’s not because Google is doing anything underhand–the search giant leaves intact any advertising used by the networks. To understand why Google TV is being blocked, you have to look at the bigger picture.
If Google TV is a success, then we’ll use our TVs to watch web content. Movies, shows, and videos that have advertising that generates much less revenue than a 30 second TV commercial. If Google TV catches on, advertisers might want–gasp!–lower ad rates, better targeting, and more reporting on the effectiveness of their ads!
Now you see the problem the networks have with Google TV.
This is going to be an interesting battle, because Google is playing “on the road” and doesn’t have the support of the home crowd or in-conference officials. Its record “on the road” is hardly impressive, so you might want to sit on the sidelines and watch this play out before shelling out the dollars for Google TV.
While we’re on that subject. Maybe the TV networks were a little premature in blocking Google TV. Judging by Danny Sullivan’s experience, setting up Google TV is a pain in the butt and just getting the latest episode of CSI to play, might put the average couch-potato off the idea altogether.