U.S. Networks Block Web Content On Google TV, Showing Their Short-Sighted Stupidity

1 min read

Google TV LogoAs you may have heard, or experienced if you’ve already bought a Google TV device, some of the major U.S. networks are blocking their content from appearing on the service. Which suggests a huge slab of short-sighted stupidity on their part.

Is it me or is there something fundamentally wrong here?

Google TV Launches

Google TV launched last week to a bit of a mixed reception. The price of the Logitech Revue set-top box and the range of Sony television sets was a little higher than expected, but the platform as a whole seems to be solid and user-friendly.

All connected TV platforms require one thing to succeed: Content. And that is turning out to be a problem for Google, with three of the four major U.S. networks blocking their content from Google TV for reasons as yet to be detailed.

ABC, CBS, NBC, Hulu Block Google TV

Google TV

users cannot view content from the ABC, CBS, NBC, or Hulu websites, as they are all blocking (or attempting to block) viewers from doing so via the new living room devices.

MTV, Fox, CNBC, and HBO are all still working through Google TV, with these sites actually having been optimized to work on the service. Google acknowledged the problem but insisted it couldn’t do anything about it, stating:

“Google TV enables access to all the Web content you already get today on your phone and PC, but it is ultimately the content owners’ choice to restrict their fans from accessing their content on the platform.”

Google is apparently in talks to have these blocks removed but the networks will likely make them jump through hoops before they’ll even consider reinstating access.

This is a bizarre situation as Google isn’t yet adding any additional layers of advertising to the content from these sites. So anyone watching through Google TV would, given the chance, see the networks’ own advertising. Which is profitable to the networks.


We, and Google, should have seen this coming, because the networks were always likely to rally against a device which could one day help break the traditional broadcasting and advertising model up completely. Especially as Hulu had already blocked Boxee.

I guess I was convinced the networks would see the light, realize the direction their industry is heading in, and decide they want to be a part of it rather than sit on the sidelines watching as viewers switch off in increasing numbers. But I was obviously wrong.

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[Via The Wall Street Journal]