Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Google TV Loses Content

Major content owners seem to have got the message after Google's near-decimation of the publishing industry and total dominance over online advertising.

Google TV is being blocked by more and more content providers - Fox and Viacom are the latest to join the fray, rendering the service next to useless since you have to go back to your PC - or your traditional cableco - to watch much of the content.

The importance of carrying the content owners with you is also demonstrated by the ongoing Hulu/Boxee fray.

TV/video content owners have always been very smart at how they preserve their content rights, but the real danger of these blockages is that they are feeding a deeper undercurrent of piracy systems and sites.

This is, perhaps, the single most important issue for the television industry to tackle, and it calls for some agile thinking and recognition that the world is as it is, not as you might wish it to be.

The only option for Google is to open up its war chest and do something it said it would never do - become a content owner and producer. It's not a coincidence that companies from Rank to GE and Sony have vertically integrated in the media industry, owning both the means of production and the means of delivery (Hulu and YouView are the latest examples of this). Google's business model might work for text, but it doesn't yet translate for TV.