The television industry is treating Google as the devil thanks to Google TV, with most networks and many video websites blocking the set-top box and associated devices from accessing them. But Google isn’t backing down, with CEO Eric Schmidt extolling the virtues of his company’s innovation.
Google TV launched in October after months of speculation. The Logitech Revue set-top box and a range of Sony TVs and other devices enable viewers to bring online video into the living room in a big way. At least that was the idea.
The problem is that all connected TV platforms need content to thrive. Unfortunately for Google, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and Hulu have all blocked Google TV from accessing their online video feeds, and there doesn’t seem much hope that they’ll change their minds anytime soon.
Not that Google is worried. Yet.
Making A Dumb TV Smart
Rather than bitching about the TV companies ruining the launch of Google TV, Google appears confident the mindset will change eventually. In the meantime, the company hopes enough content remains for Google TV to at least gain a foothold.
What Google has done is defend its position against the onslaught of criticism coming its way from the industry. According to NewTeeVee, Eric Schmidt addressed the issue at the Web 2.0 Summit, saying:
“They’ve accused us of trying to make a dumb TV smart. Yes, we’re guilty of that. There’s a fear that this enormous revenue stream is somehow going to be affected by all this Internet content… [But] we don’t want to create a situation where revenue goes to zero. TV is a big business, and… there are lots of new revenue sources there.”
Isn’t it amazing that trying to improve on something, making a dumb box in the corner smart, is seen as a bad thing? I know the TV industry has to protect itself but doing so in this way merely shows it up as being scared and very, very short-sighted.
What Schmidt says is so true. There will obviously be a difficult period of adjustment, but it’s not as though Google TV and the other connected platforms are completely removing the industry’s ability to make money. It’s just that the methods for doing so are going to have to change.
At the moment it seems the TV networks are making the same mistake the record labels previously made: attempting to hold on to a business model that no longer works in the digital age. Sad, really.
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