Google TV and TV Industry Hashing Out Future

written by: Richard Kastelein

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TV Broadcast Engineering is reporting that Google has recently met with officials of TV networks including ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC to tease them into buying into Google TV and finding some synergy, but, apparently, the networks remain skeptical and are sweating Google for more details about monetization models for the future - or how Google plans to make cash.

Google executives want the networks to share data about their video websites to make it easier for users to search and display their shows in blended TV-Web listings. When a user searches for a show like ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” for instance, Google’s software will list episodes scheduled to air on TV and airing at that moment, along with episodes and other related content online. Google believes more data will help it improve that search function.

Ultimately, Google wants to go much further with TV-Web integration than Apple, Microsoft and other companies in the field before it have done. The Google software aims to play any video that runs anywhere on the Web, from YouTube clips to full-length TV episodes that media companies distribute on their own sites.

Google pushing the Web into television has the 'Old School' understandably concerned that that their IP will get swamped when 500 channels becomes millions - and which may include pirated and other copied content.  Google's plan to push online video advertising also has the broadcasters perturbed about a power grab on Google's part.

Google also wants content owners to adapt their Web video for larger screens. The Internet giant wants some TV-owned websites redesigned so that they display better on a bigger screen, with larger frames for the video and less text.

Anthony Soohoo, senior vice president of entertainment at CBS Interactive, told the Los Angeles Times:

“While CBS is open to discussing additional ways to distribute our content, we need to have a firmer understanding of Google’s plans for monetizing the content that flows through Google TV before we accurately evaluate the opportunity.”

"It's kind of an end-run around their control of signal, and that's scary," added Harold Vogel, president of media investment firm Vogel Capital Management, of broadcasters' response to Google TV. "Because if you don't control the signal, then you can't provide your own advertising. It really destroys the legacy business model."

TV Broadcast Engineering makes an excellent point:

At stake is the growing realization of broadcasters that the Internet is merging with television, with or without Google. And, perhaps most troubling to the networks, is that the future is truly unknown. Even Google doesn’t yet know how it will make money on Google TV. The networks don’t know whether or not it eventually intends to compensate the studios and networks for the content.

It's not so much a question of 'My Way or the Highway' on Google's part. It's the inevitability factor.

More from Google from the Los Angeles Time piece:

"We want to use the Internet to change the television experience," said Vincent Dureau, Google's head of TV technology. "There's no secret plan. We're not designing a rocket that's going to the moon. At the end of the day, the story's simple. We're putting a browser in the TV to enable a whole bunch of things that the studios and the networks are already doing today, but in a less disjointed fashion."

and the analysts pipe in:

Lazard Capital Markets media analyst Barton Crockett predicts Internet video will be the biggest thing to happen in the living room since the advent of digital video recorders. Within five years, television sets and set-top boxes that connect to the Web will be commonplace, he said.

That represents a potential boon to content creators, as distributors pay substantial sums for the right to stream movies and TV shows to subscribers, Crockett said. Consider the five-year, $900-million deal subscription service Netflix Inc. struck last week with fledgling pay-TV channel Epix to offer movies via the Web from Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lionsgate within 90 days of opening in theaters.

"I understand being scared of Google. They are big, smart, powerful and disruptive. It makes them scary from the moment they enter the room," Crockett said. "But they also represent the future."

Another article in the Wall St. Journal also points out some headbutting in the convergence:

While Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and a range of other companies offer ways to watch some content, like TV shows and movies, over the Web through hardware connected to traditional TVs, Google TV would go further. The Google software aims to play any video that runs anywhere on the Web, from clips on YouTube to full-length TV episodes that media companies distribute on their own sites. That open pipe has some media companies worried that their content will get lost amid a range of Web content, including pirated clips, according to people familiar with the matter.

Google's push could backfire: Some media companies are discussing whether they should take steps to block their Web video from playing on certain devices, which is technically possible.

Google says say they believe technological innovation can make television better and more profitable for everyone and feel they are driving a new opportunity to make more money from TV shows distributed online.

What do you think?

Advertising firm Media Contacts has released a brief overview of Google TV, including a breakdown of the technology and how it can be used. It touches on the Logitech Revue, Harmony Link, how search works, and more. Check out the 5 page document below to see their brief, yet effective overview of Google TV. Best click on the full screen option to read it properly.

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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