Google TV Blocked by Major US Broadcasters

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Walls were put up around Google's play for the living room yesterday when NBC Universal, CBS and Disney all blocked their content on Google TV, shutting down Google TV's access to online versions of their programs.

NewsCorp's Fox is also mulling over blocking Google TV owners from accessing their content online as well.

Basically this means - when you normally like to visit Disney on your computer to watch video content, no problem, but if you want to access the website on your Google TV browser by going to the Disney website - it's a no go.

At NAB IN 2007, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told broadcasters that piracy would become a 'non-issue' yet Google is still not proactive when it comes to intellectually protected content being uploaded on their network and will only pull down video when a complaint is launched. Their policy for porn is to pull down immediately. And this is what likely irks the broadcaster's most - and pushing them to push back in order to force Google to combat illegal video more effectively. They are playing their hand.

Because right now, I can - concievably - bring up Pirate Bay on my Google TV - Not that I do or would... never mind watch movies and clips on Youtube that should not be there.

That's the issue. Google's response is interesting... according to Reuters, they are in talks.

Google said in a statement that its new Google TV service "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."

The battle for scarcity on the big screen  looks to have begun. The problem is - like Apple's issues with people jailbreaking phones and 'owning' them, consumers will do the same with their TV's and simply change the browser user string, which is simple - and then get the content anyway. Or they will continue to go to BitTorrent to get their entertainment.


As one commenter noted at Techcrunch:

There will be a BitTorrent app on Google TV, just type the name of the tv show or movie that you want, and baam, it downloads directly to Google TV. And if you want faster and untraceable encrypted BitTorrent downloads, you will be able to use gbit/s seedbox services (some cost $5/month for 1gbit/1gbit connection for unlimited downloads, which you then just stream once downloaded. It's so fast, anything mildly popular is downloaded in seconds not even minutes).

This is the Internet, we will win.

And another at Techcrunch commented:

Google wants the deals too, cause that just accelerates the disruption.

The plan here is that with deals or without them, Google TV will happen now, and nothing can stop them.

In some ways, Google TV is very attractive to content makers, as this monetizes On Demand as no other platform can. Also, ads served through Google TV on regular programming can generate orders of magnitude more revenues on the TV ads! Imagine TV ads represent $70 Billion per year just in the USA! If all TV ads were converted into Google TV ads overnight, that revenue could be in the $700 Billion per year. Reason being a targeted ad is worth much more per viewer than a random ad.

But in other ways, Google TV is a trojan horse accelerating the revolution where consumers will watch more and more YouTube contents and less and less major centralized old media contents. The decentralized YouTube content creators will gradually make more and more revenues directly, which will enable them to produce always better contents.

The interesting to note that the networks are not sending Google cease and desist letters, but rather simply blocking this particular device from accessing their otherwise free websites, using a free and open protocol.

More at WSJ - Networks in Rift With Google TV

More at WP - Networks block shows from Google TV

More at NYT - Big Networks Block Web Shows From Google TV

More at Techcrunch - ABC, CBS And NBC Shut Out Google TV: Fox And MTV Still Available

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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