Network TV Bucking Google TV

While playing with the Logitech Revue last weekend I noticed a trend. Network television offerings on their websites was blocked for Google TV. I tried CBS.com, then ABC.com. Both sites blocked full-episode access to Google TV. Hulu also shows a blocked message, though it at least promises future compatibility. At the time I didn’t try Fox or NBC, but they have also blocked Google TV. The biggest question is: Why?

Interestingly enough it is the same reason the networks blocked content on Hulu. The thinking goes something along the lines of “Why let Hulu get the ad money when we can earn it ourselves?” What “worked” for them in blocking Hulu they are hoping will work in blocking Google. It doesn’t seem that Google is really interested in stepping on the networks’ toes here, so the move looks rather petty. Google itself doesn’t seem to concerned with the postering, claiming it is interested in enhancing, and not replacing network content.

Google TV is really about getting the most out of the web AND traditional television. It isn’t an either/or kind of thing. You search for content on the web and on television at the same time. You can add shows to your DVR queue from Google TV, which even further makes the networks look silly. Google TV makes it easier for you to find their shows to watch and record on your DVR. This is Google hand-delivering viewers that may not otherwise see the content the networks are offering.

Needless to say it is the networks, and not Google who will suffer for these childish antics. Network television has been getting its lunch eaten by basic cable stations for so long that they resort to petty blockage of useful tools like Google TV. I think Google TV has a lot more to offer than just CBS.com and the like. People will gravitate to content they like, so if they can’t watch something on the network’s site, they’ll watch it somewhere else. Either way the network loses the advertising money. Google has found a really nice niche, and it doesn’t need the networks’ cooperation or approval to keep moving. I think eventually the networks will come around, especially when they see the fans are not as loyal as they hope.

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