Nets Evaluate Putting Content on Google TV
Cannibalization, monetization, piracy are concerns for broadcasters
By Marisa Guthrie -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/22/2010 1:34:20 PM
Multiple media outlets picked up the story. But somewhat lost in the aggregation was the fact that ABC, CBS and NBC, the specific "networks" referred to in the Journal headline, are in talks with Google for a workable solution to long-form content access on Google's Web-based TV. Google along with Sony and Logitech only began rolling out Google TV this month. And NBC introduced a Google TV app for business news channel CNBC.
Spokespeople for ABC, CBS and NBC confirmed that they have not made episodes of their long-form content available for Google's searchable Web-based TV.
But all three networks are in ongoing negotiations, say sources.
NBC released a statement pointing to its ongoing cooperation with various media companies: "From NBC.com to playing a central role in the development of Hulu, and striking key deals with Apple, Amazon, Netflix and a host of other services, NBCU has a long history as a leader in online distribution. We've had discussions with Google, and have partnered with them on a CNBC app, but like many other content providers we're still evaluating their new platform in regards to other content."
Last summer, Google began pitching networks to optimize their Websites to work with Google TV. Some networks including Time Warner's HBO and Turner Broadcasting networks have revamped to make their shows available on Google TV. Fox is not blocking their shows from Google TV as the two companies continue to work out a deal.
"We're in the early phases of Google TV and already have strong partnerships with Best Buy, Logitech and Sony, among others," a Google spokesperson said in an email to B&C Friday. "We are excited about the opportunities our new platform creates for both established media companies like Turner and HBO, and tens of thousands of content creators large and small. Google TV enables access to all the web content you already get today on your phone and PC, but it is ultimately the content owner's choice to restrict users from accessing their content on the platform."
Hulu, which is owned by Disney, NBC Universal and News Corp., also blocks its videos from Google TV, though Hulu and Google are in talks to make Hulu's subscription service available.
At stake for the networks is the potential cannibalizing effect of true searchable Web-based TV without commensurate monetization potential. Piracy is also an issue as the networks evaluate whether to make their content available over the Google TV platform.
And while users are watching more video online - last month alone 175 million U.S. Internet users watched an average of 14.4 million hours of online video - the vast majority of long-form scripted entertainment is consumed the old-fashioned way: on the couch in front of the set.
Great piece. It really resonates with the themes I've been preaching lately.
However, I found the last sentence somewhat interesting and puzzling: "the vast majority of long-form scripted entertainment is consumed the old-fashioned way: on the couch in front of the set."
Isn't that what Google TV is trying to do?
I bring this up only because I've been beating my students over the head with the argument that the phrase "online video" will eventually be obsolete. Just as today's viewers don't really differentiate between UHF and VHF, broadcast nets versus cable nets, this distinction between "traditional" TV and online video will eventually become irrelevant.
The question I always want answered is "when?"
Glenn Cummins - 10/22/2010 2:10:44 PM EDT
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