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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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