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Fox has become the latest major broadcast network to go into internet denial mode banning its web videos from Google TV.  (Source: Fox)

Google TV believers like TBS are more than happy with Fox's decision -- it means more viewership (and ad money) for them.  (Source: TBS)

As TV makers continue to jump on the Google TV train (the latest edition, Samsung's Smart TV, is shown here), networks like Fox may increasingly come to regret their denialism.  (Source: Flickr/IFA 2010)
TV giants are apparently content to turn away business, fearful of lower ad revenue

The big four of the broadcast television world -- ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox -- have now united in their opposition of Google TV.  Google TV, currently available on select new Sony televisions, allows users to navigate the internet.  But the big TV networks have banned Google from viewing free episodes of TV shows on their website.

Fox became the latest to block the internet-connected TVs, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, a publication of Fox's parent company News Corp.  It had previously not announced a decision and was allowing users to access episodes.  Fox refused comment on the change.

Many may find the big four's decision to block web video ironic, considering that users can simply go view the content on their PCs.  Furthering the irony is the fact that the TV networks have long bemoaned declining viewership and sagging revenue.

From the television networks' perspective, the decision boils down to a couple factors.  First and foremost, advertisers currently aren't willing to pay as much for internet video as for spots on broadcast TV (though that gap is slowly eroding).

Tied to that is the fear of minimalization deep-rooted in the networks' psyche.  The TV has always been a psychologically significant symbol to networks, their fortress against the web video onslaught so to speak.  Now that web video is on the TV their decision may be guided more by emotion than logic, as they dwell on the fear that users will stop watching network TV altogether -- which in turn would further drop their already cloudy bottom line.

The bad part is that the decision may simply do the opposite of their intention.  Rather the convince users to ditch the internet surfing and simply return to network television, users may instead choose to go to various networks that do allow Google TV.

Among those networks are TBS, TNT, CNN, HBO, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. In addition users may spend more time watching videos on video sites like YouTube or Viveo.

And further complicating the situation, the Android-based Google TV appears on the verge of taking over a dominant position in the television market, much as it did in the smart phone market.  Samsung recently joined Sony, announcing that it would launch a Google TV product early next year (dubbed the Samsung Smart TV).  As more and more TV sets gain Google TV, it may be increasingly hard for networks to ignore and block the sets.

Google has been remarkably calm and unconcerned about the networks' rejection.  It thinks the broadcaster merely "misunderstand" the medium and is eager to continue to try to convince them to jump aboard. 

Rishi Chandra, Google TV's lead product manager, said that networks want Google TV to pay licensing fees to gain access.  However, he says that while his team is willing to explore alternate revenue sharing schemes, a direct licensing fee would compromise the underlying premise of the internet.  He says it would be like Microsoft agreeing to let its customers be charged in order to watch web video in Internet Explorer.



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Advertising revenues...
By Motoman on 11/11/2010 9:11:47 AM , Rating: 5
...will even out. As traditional TV viewership goes down, the value of that advertising goes down as well...

...if the reason that viewership is decreasing is that people are watching TVs and movies on the web instead, then the advertising there is going to become more valuable.

Therefore, if you want to stabilize your ad revenue, you embrace the online medium and profit from it's rise in popularity as the interest in traditional TV wanes.

Or, you can pretend online doesn't exist, and just slowly shrink and eventually become insolvent as traditional TV eventually fails to generate sufficient ad revenue.




RE: Advertising revenues...
By KentState on 11/11/2010 9:19:40 AM , Rating: 4
You would think they would learn from the music industry and the quick decline in traditional media sales.


RE: Advertising revenues...
By Mitch101 on 11/11/2010 10:01:42 AM , Rating: 1
They can make a something from Google or we can just get them for free using an Antenna.

Major networks something > free.

Also a portion of people will go this route without you increasing their exposure/viewership to other networks. You should do it to keep your exposure/viewership.


RE: Advertising revenues...
By FITCamaro on 11/11/2010 1:00:27 PM , Rating: 2
You seem to not understand how TV works. Even over an antenna, TV shows are not "free". Stop confusing Fox with the cable company.

TV shows are paid for with advertising. Their gripe is that they don't make as much from the advertising online as they do the advertising on traditional sources of TV (cable, satellite, and yes, antenna). I really don't think they give a crap how the medium gets to you. Just that they get paid the same or more.

The reason I think that TBS, TNT, etc. are embracing it more is that they are not broadcast stations. So something like Google TV only potentially grows their audience or keeps it the same. Because otherwise people can only get to them with a cable or satellite subscription. This just gives viewers another avenue to reach their content.


RE: Advertising revenues...
By Mitch101 on 11/11/2010 1:46:39 PM , Rating: 3
Thats the past.

Free broadcast TV may go way of the VHS tape
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34619571/

The business model is unraveling at ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and the local stations that carry the networks' programming. Cable TV and the Web have fractured the audience for free TV and siphoned its ad dollars. The recession has squeezed advertising further, forcing broadcasters to accelerate their push for new revenue to pay for programming.

That will play out in living rooms across the country. The changes could mean higher cable or satellite TV bills, as the networks and local stations squeeze more fees from pay-TV providers such as Comcast and DirecTV for the right to show broadcast TV channels in their lineups. The networks might even ditch free broadcast signals in the next few years. Instead, they could operate as cable channels — a move that could spell the end of free TV as Americans have known it since the 1940s.

The traditional broadcast model works like this: CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox distribute shows through a network of local stations. The networks own a few stations in big markets, but most are "affiliates," owned by separate companies.

Traditionally the networks paid affiliates to broadcast their shows, though those fees have dwindled to near nothing as local stations have seen their audience shrink. What hasn't changed is where the money mainly comes from: advertising.

Cable channels make most of their money by charging pay-TV providers a monthly fee per subscriber for their programming. On average, the pay-TV providers pay about 26 cents for each channel they carry, according to research firm SNL Kagan. A channel as highly rated as ESPN can get close to $4, while some, such as MTV2, go for just a few pennies.

With both advertising and fees, ESPN has seen its revenue grow to $6.3 billion this year from $1.8 billion a decade ago, according to SNL Kagan's estimates. It has been able to bid for premium events that networks had traditionally aired, such as football games. Cable channels also have been able to fund high-quality shows, such as AMC's "Mad Men," rather than recycling movies and TV series.

That, plus a growing number of channels, has given cable a bigger share of the ad pie. In 1998, cable channels drew roughly $9.1 billion, or 24 percent of total TV ad spending, according to the Television Bureau of Advertising. By 2008, they were getting $21.6 billion, or 39 percent.

A tale of two business models
Having two revenue streams — advertising and fees from pay-TV providers — has insulated cable channels from the recession. In contrast, over-the-air stations have been forced to cut staff, and at least two broadcast groups sought bankruptcy protection this year.

Fox illustrates the trend: Its broadcast operations reported a 54 percent drop in operating income for the quarter that ended in September. Its cable channels, which include Fox News and FX, grew their operating income 41 percent.

Analyst Tom Love of ZenithOptimedia said he expects the big networks will end the year with a 9 percent drop in ad revenue, followed by an 8 percent drop in 2010 and zero growth in 2011.


RE: Advertising revenues...
By omnicronx on 11/11/2010 2:51:06 PM , Rating: 2
You are clearly missing the point. Those currently paying for TV are subsidizing free TV.

So what happens when the subsidy disappears?

Does anyone truly believe that quality broadcasting can continue to exist without a true advertising model?

Does anyone really think that the same companies dolling out millions of dollars for TV spots are going to pay even close to that amount for online advertising when they are probably already heavily invested in that area anyways ?

There is a GIANT hole in the theory that broadcast TV will go the way of the dodo. There is just no money to be made without it. If there is no money to be made, then quality broadcasting will cease to exist.

At that point I hope you all enjoy your free TV, watching Saved by the Bell reruns because nobody is creating content.


RE: Advertising revenues...
By FITCamaro on 11/11/2010 3:13:48 PM , Rating: 4
To be fair, reruns of GOOD old shows are still better than 70% of the crap on TV today. Dancing with the Stars? Survivor Season 79? The fact that crap like this is popular shows me how far our society has truly fallen intellectually.


RE: Advertising revenues...
By mooty on 11/11/2010 9:29:56 AM , Rating: 2
What I don't understand is, how can the majority of TV ads be an incentive to buy anything. They disrupt the show I'm trying to watch every half minute, thus making me hate them from the start, and on top of that they are of horrible quality...


RE: Advertising revenues...
By Motoman on 11/11/2010 9:40:32 AM , Rating: 2
Every time a commercial interrupts a show I'm watching, I sort of make a mental note not to buy that product...

...but keep that to yourselves, because without ad revenue, there would be no TV at all. Aside from public access.


RE: Advertising revenues...
By mooty on 11/11/2010 10:46:50 AM , Rating: 2
It doesn't mean they shouldn't do it more smartly...


RE: Advertising revenues...
By kattanna on 11/11/2010 10:53:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
on top of that they are of horrible quality...


agreed !

we almost never watch live tv but instead watch it recorded via the DVR so we just fast forward past most commercials.

we will stop and watch a few of the really funny commercials like some of the GEICO ones, but its rare.

honestly i think the worst of the lot is car commercials, man are they always snore fests


RE: Advertising revenues...
By cknobman on 11/11/2010 11:31:47 AM , Rating: 2
When not watching shows on the internet I watch everything on DVR that way I can skip the commercials.

I havent watched live tv in forever with the exception of major sporting events and I am even starting to watch those on a 30 min DVR delay so I can skip the commercials.

When will networks learn that they consumers dont want over exposure to sh!tty advertising?


RE: Advertising revenues...
By FITCamaro on 11/11/2010 1:03:46 PM , Rating: 2
About the same time that consumers learn that without advertising, there are no shows. Where do you people think the revenue to pay for shows like Big Bang Theory comes from?

Cable/satellite subscriptions? Only partly. The money is in the advertising. Sure you could entirely get rid of ads. But then the cost of cable/satellite will go up and "free" internet shows will disappear. You'll instead have to pay a few dollars for every episode you want to watch (granted this is a model to explore since I'd rather spend $10 a week on the shows I actually want to watch instead of $60+/month for satellite.


RE: Advertising revenues...
By omnicronx on 11/11/2010 1:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly FIT.. I completely agree.

Google's idea that Internet TV should follow the same model as the rest of the internet is absurd.

Without our providers, content makers are not getting paid. If content makers are not getting paid, then we don't get any content now do we?

Whether you personally watch LIVE Tv is irrelevent, (i.e to the poster above) as if everyone follows suit you are not going to have anything to PVR in the first place.(worth watching at least)


RE: Advertising revenues...
By FITCamaro on 11/11/2010 1:25:00 PM , Rating: 2
Well I don't think Google is saying there shouldn't be ads. Google just wanted to allow easy access to the shows companies already make available for viewing on PCs on your TV. It isn't trying to take the ads out of them.

It's people that seem to have this ridiculous idea that everything should be "free". But what do you expect with the entitlement mentality our government teaches today?

Nothing is free. You either pay for it directly, someone else does, or you do something in order to get it. In the past it was just watching commercials. Then it was you had cable or satellite to get the channels you got "for free" plus a bunch more. Now its going to you can get the shows online with less ads and no additional fee. That only lasts as long as there are enough people watching through cable and satellite to keep the ad space costing enough to fund the shows. If everyone switched over to watching shows off the companies websites tomorrow, there would be just as many ads or subscription fees in order to access them.


RE: Advertising revenues...
By omnicronx on 11/11/10, Rating: -1
easy fix
By invidious on 11/11/2010 9:21:13 AM , Rating: 3
Dont buy google tv, buy a cheap laptop and connect it to your TV with hdmi, then do whatever the hell you want with it and the major networks are none the wiser.

I've had my computer connected to my TV (essentially making it an internet tv) for the better part of a decade. I understand google is brining this kind of thing to the masses who dont understand this is nothing new. But I dont think anyone on this site needs this product.




RE: easy fix
By robinthakur on 11/11/2010 10:11:30 AM , Rating: 2
That is a good technical solution, but its wife approval factor is a little lacking. I built a VMC media centre device a couple of years back, but I was the only person who could work out how to use it and it crashed or failed to power up correctly quite a bit, so it swiftly got removed from the main TV and the parts reused...

This non-technical silent majority is what the Google TV and Apple cater for, those that want a computer in TV solution to be as robust yet simple an experience as using a standard TV or a Microwave oven.


RE: easy fix
By Spivonious on 11/11/2010 11:01:05 AM , Rating: 2
Things are much better now.

Logitech Harmony remote + Windows 7 = happy wife.


RE: easy fix
By jonmcc33 on 11/11/10, Rating: -1
RE: easy fix
By omnicronx on 11/11/2010 11:52:06 AM , Rating: 4
Apparently you are the one lacking balls as your clearly have no sex drive. (or you like men)..

Either way, you need to get laid.


RE: easy fix
By FITCamaro on 11/11/2010 1:28:07 PM , Rating: 4
No he's just one of those idiots who think marriage is a dead institution. At least he will until he's sad and alone because he's past the age/appearance of being able to pick up anything but the trailer park skank.


RE: easy fix
By mcnabney on 11/11/2010 11:27:15 AM , Rating: 2
This is a very good point.

I created a very elaborate setup which included a gaming HTPC. My wife hated it because she didn't understand how to make everything work. Then I got a Harmony One. Problem solved.


RE: easy fix
By Smilin on 11/11/2010 1:02:02 PM , Rating: 2
same.


RE: easy fix
By DKantUno on 11/11/2010 2:27:56 PM , Rating: 2
Why would it be hard? No different from using a computer, I'd think.

Not criticising or anything, but I'm looking to pick up pointers while building an HTPC of my own! So which part didn't work out as expected?


RE: easy fix
By omnicronx on 11/11/2010 2:57:04 PM , Rating: 2
I find its all the switching of inputs, having certain components on/off etc to get certain things to work.

Thats why a Harmony remote (or something similar) should be a part of every htpc setup. It just makes things as easy as pressing a single button. Having the ability to setup activities (which are basically just macros i.e turn on tv power, turn on receiver power, switch to input x etc.. all set to a single activity so that with one press of the button, everything is turned on and setup correctly) makes things a lot easier, especially for novice users.


I don't get it...
By quiksilvr on 11/11/2010 9:10:27 AM , Rating: 2
Don't they WANT people to go to their sites for episodes that aren't available on TV? Isn't that the whole point? I am at a complete loss on this...




RE: I don't get it...
By Spacecomber on 11/11/2010 9:32:11 AM , Rating: 2
I guess I don't understand how this even works. Most of those networks that are blocking GoogleTV, except for CBS, are available on Hulu. Does this mean that GoogleTV has no access to Hulu? What is it exactly that is being denied, a connection from the Android browser? I'm assuming that Google TV is nothing more than a built in media computer for down loading content off the internet. Besides simply hooking up a computer to your tv to download/stream this content, there are other media devices for doing the same thing.

I guess the networks figure that with Google behind it this is going to take off and they want to make sure that they negotiate terms for getting some money out of it when it does.


RE: I don't get it...
By wolrah on 11/11/2010 11:08:46 AM , Rating: 2
The idiots are filtering on their web sites for the user agent string of a Google TV box. Hulu also does the same for Android devices. The solution is the same in each case, Google makes it fairly easy to change the user agent string to match a normal desktop browser, in which case it works as expected.

Basically the chimpanzees running these networks have the dumb idea that you can put something out on the internet and limit it only to certain devices. They don't want people watching TV on their TVs unless they're tuned to their channel. Same problem Boxee had with Hulu for a while.


RE: I don't get it...
By Kafka0622 on 11/11/2010 11:50:06 AM , Rating: 2
This is not true. They are filtering based on the Flash Version ID which is unique in Google TV.


RE: I don't get it...
By omnicronx on 11/11/2010 11:55:50 AM , Rating: 2
And even if it was as simple as changing the AgentID, the vast majority of users wouldnt know how to bypass it in the first place.

Allowing a few % of users to bypass their simple security techniques can hardly be considered a failure.


RE: I don't get it...
By Smilin on 11/11/2010 1:04:58 PM , Rating: 2
They shouldn't need to filter it at all. If Google is doing something that violates the websites terms of use then they have to stop.

Individual users can bend the law and get away with it I'm quite sure. A full company and product line would not only get noticed it would have a obvious entity to begin litigation against.


Advertisers need to figure this out and quick.
By Kafka0622 on 11/11/2010 10:33:36 AM , Rating: 2
As a Google TV owner what I find most interesting in the absurdity of the networks blocking content is the fact that the ONLY way I ever see ads is when I'm streaming from network sites.

I would venture to say that most people in the US now have a DVR with their cable service. I do. Because I have a DVR I never watch live TV except for sports. Ever. When I do watch a network show on my DVR I fast forward through the commercials and never even see them. I know I'm not alone in this because every one I know does the same thing (although admittedly most of my friends are very tech savvy). I never see commercials unless I watch programs via network sites or Hulu Plus.

By blocking network access to my Google TV the networks only serve to keep me from seeing any of the ads they depend on for revenue. The advertisers get no return to their dollar from my family and will not do so until I can cut cable and stream from Google TV.





RE: Advertisers need to figure this out and quick.
By gjk392 on 11/11/2010 11:16:23 AM , Rating: 2
I'm curious if you can spoof your Google TV to look like a PC or Mac? There has to be a way to modify the type of browser it is reported as. When I look our web analytics (Google and Coremetrics) I see visits from people with Chrome / Google TV. If you can change that, then those networks would not know you are using a Google TV.


By Kafka0622 on 11/11/2010 11:47:59 AM , Rating: 2
I read somewhere (I don't remember where) that the networks are actually looking at the Flash Version ID of which Google TVs is unique.


By FITCamaro on 11/11/2010 3:16:51 PM , Rating: 2
I have a DVR but honestly I don't fast forward through the ads all that much. Only when I'm in a hurry.


Typical Google.
By Smilin on 11/11/2010 1:15:22 PM , Rating: 1
I want to take the intellectual property that you put money into producing and give it away for free. Instead of you generating ad revenue on your website we're going to generate revenue on Google TV. What? Was that wrong?

We're going to scan a bunch of books now then we'll get permission from the author after the fact when we bully them in court. I know you would be thrown in jail for doing it but we're rich so it's ok. It's not ok? That's wrong?

I swear we've put filters and check in place to ensure no copyrighted material ends up on youtube. We know you can always just type "comedy central" and get thousands of hits but we know the free publicity is what the property holded wants (not some pesky traffic to their own site). Why? Is that wrong?

You don't mind if we cruise down your private drive snapping pictures and recording all your internet traffic. It will help us so much to match those pictures we took from an airplane. We won't tell you when but you can certainly opt out whenever that is. What? Wrong still? We don't understand.

We do no evil
(unless you look at the cached page definition of evil..we might have done evil before the google ministry of truth changed the definition. That wasn't wrong.)




RE: Typical Google.
By Kafka0622 on 11/12/2010 12:26:34 PM , Rating: 2
The networks blocking Google TV only advertise their own shows and obviously do not sell advertising so that argument is ridiculous. Google TV streams the video FROM THE NETWORK SITE with all ads and commercials intact.

Google is not stealing a damn thing here and pretending it does certainly doesn't advance the discussion.


RE: Typical Google.
By Smilin on 11/15/2010 11:48:26 AM , Rating: 2
It keeps the imbedded ads but doesn't display the whole site so all banner advertisements and such are missing. In other words it does not present the copyrighted material in accordance with the owners wishes.

You're missing the point though.

Google does not own the copyright on the material. They are displaying the property without any reimbursement to the owner and without the owner's permission.

As I said...this is typical Google behavior.

(btw: the discussion has been advanced...perhaps just not in the direction you wish. your request for dismissal is denied)


The clueless rise
By frobizzle on 11/11/2010 9:48:49 AM , Rating: 2
Once more, the so-called mainstream networks are devoid of any clue. "People aren't watching our shows any more. Must be because of that (colorful metaphor) Internet!"

Hello! Network executives... people aren't watching your shows because A) Most of them are complete crap and B) when you have 35 minutes of content for an hour show, the rest of the time occupied by commercials, there really is no impetus to watch your shows!




RE: The clueless rise
By FITCamaro on 11/11/2010 4:46:17 PM , Rating: 2
Yup. In a 168 hour week, not counting sports and movie channels, there is maybe 10 hours of quality television in my opinion.


By Boldar Blood on 11/11/2010 1:25:43 PM , Rating: 2
A workaround has already been posted and basically consists of changing a single setting in the Google Chrome browser that causes it to no longer read as a GoogleTV device. Easy.

Just ordered my Logitech Revue through DishNetwork and am looking forward to catching all the shows I miss let alone the other great features of GoogleTV.




By gjk392 on 11/11/2010 6:45:43 PM , Rating: 2
where ?


What should happen -
By Fracture on 11/11/2010 2:41:38 PM , Rating: 2
1) Google should be an ISP offering unlimited bandwidth at $20-$25/month.
2) Google should partner/buy Netflix
3) Google should provide "TV" service via internet Netflix-style
4) Profit.

Imagine it - every show is essentially on-demand. And Google would have huge advertising capture since everyone and their mother would migrate to this.




RE: What should happen -
By Smilin on 11/11/2010 3:44:34 PM , Rating: 2
1) I've already got unlimited. $20 would be nice though.
2) Netflix should continue to work with Sony, Microsoft, TiVo, and the rest of the market.
3) Google should recognize I already have Netflix and Hulu, Amazon, and Zune on my TV.

You're asking for me to invite big brother into my house and I'll gain nothing I don't already have. Google doesn't need any more power than they already have until they can begin doing less evil.


By hsew on 11/11/2010 7:20:51 PM , Rating: 3
*insert statement bashing FOX (news) here*

Ah ha! There it is!




Some clarification
By Trisped on 11/11/2010 12:35:05 PM , Rating: 2
The way the article reads I thought it was saying that there would be absolutely no way to view the networks not on board with Google TV. After thinking about it I realized this cannot be correct.

Over the air and cable transmissions will still be viable ways of viewing content, it is only the advanced Google TV features which will be blocked. That said, there will probably be a web browser which could be used to view shows on current video streaming sites as well as Hulu and YouTube apps to stream directly from these providers. Since the TV is in essence a TV, PC, and more I expect these broadcasters can only block the "and more" features due to direct licensing.

More clarification would be nice. Any chance DailyTech will ask for an interview with the Google TV people?




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