Google TV is aiming for the Living Room - With or Without Hollywood

written by: Richard Kastelein

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As the New York Post so perfectly nailed it: "YouTube wants to be the boob tube." Social media giant Youtube passed one billion subscriptions, took over Google TV (not) and lost it's CEO - all in one week.

But nothing seems to be slowing Google down in it's quest for TV network-like status, and a share of the 60 billion dollars spent in the USA on TV advertising annually.

On average, 200 million channels been subscribed to each year since Youtube was founded in 2005. For those that don't know - Youtube's 'subscribe' button is a lot like the 'Like' button on Facebook or the 'Follow' button on Twitter and by subscribing to a certain channel or user, you get all their new videos on your own homepage.

It's no wonder the rumor mill is churning that Google TV looking to aggressively launch a YouTube TV channel since the networks have flipped them off and blocked their free and ad-funded content on the web from hitting the living room screen via Google TV.

Google downplayed a report yesterday that it folded its Google TV operations into YouTube after failing to win network content. Google is aiming for the TV set with or without Hollywood.

"The best content doesn't have to be created in a studio or on the backlot," a Google source told the New York Post.

And Google has more than just user generated content - including its own vast library of movies and professional generated programming.

In the midst of over 10,000 content partners on Youtube - who share ad revenue with the site, hundreds of those partners are making six figures a year and attracting what Google terms "TV-size audiences."

Democratization or disruption? Depends on who you are talking to. Studios, networks, broadcasters and heavy weight distribution players are not sleeping too well these days - and disruption is causing a lot of unknowns in their world. Smaller producers, directors, film makers, artists, writers, comedians, actors, smaller distro outlets and others that are not high on the old school food chain are ecstatic. This is a leveling of the playing field as far as they see it.

Using scarcity as a leverage in entertainment to rake in billions due to locked-in top-down deal-making is history.

If Google succeeds.

Or even if it's a collective effort to knock down the walled gardens as we know them by Google TV, Apple TV Samsung Internet@TV, LG and Sony Smart TV, Panasonic Connected TV, Yahoo Widget TV, Sharp, Philips and Loewe Net TV or Boxee or Roku or Tivo, Netflix or Hulu, HbbTV or Youview... things are not going to stay the same.

Chad Hurley, the co-founder of video website YouTube is stepping down as CEO - he founded the video-sharing site with Steve Chen in 2005 and sold it to Google some 20 months later for 1.65 billion dollars. On the surface it just seems he wants to step out of the day to day and go into advisory mode.

“For the past two years, I’ve taken on more of an advisory role at YouTube as Salar Kamangar has led the company’s day-to-day operations,” Hurley said in a statement released by YouTube on Friday.

“I will continue to serve as an advisor and am excited to witness the next phase of YouTube’s growth.” Hurley added.

Hurley founded YouTube with Steve Chen and Jawed Karim in February 2005. Hurley formerly worked at Paypal and under Google, YouTube has grown from 67 employees to more than 600.

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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