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Google Television The Media The Internet Entertainment Technology

ABC, CBS, and NBC Block Google TV 227

Posted by timothy
from the speaking-of-locked-down dept.
markjhood2003 writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that 'ABC, CBS and NBC are blocking TV programming on their websites from being viewable on Google Inc.'s new Web-TV service. ... Spokespeople for the three networks confirmed that they are blocking the episodes on their websites from playing on Google TV, although both ABC and NBC allow promotional clips to work using the service.' Google has responded, '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.'"
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ABC, CBS, and NBC Block Google TV

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  • God damnit.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rivalz (1431453) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @12:32AM (#33994280)

    That is a lot of crappy television shows I have to boycott now.
    I was just thinking that all the t.v. shows on right now suck because of the writers strike a while back.
    It turns out the executives are just insane.

  • by Lobachevsky (465666) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @12:44AM (#33994338)

    ABC, NBC, et al. could claim Google is spoofing its useragent to circumvent the ban on Google TV. That means they could sue Google under the provisions of DMCA. Blame your legislators for passing idiotic laws that forbid gaining "unauthorized" access through spoofing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 23, 2010 @12:46AM (#33994356)

    Anything Google changes it to will be blocked, most likely. Unless it happened to be the exact UA of - say - IE6, and then these companies would probably start blocking based on other bits of availaible information(like flash version, browser accept string, platform etc).

    If users change it themselves, different strings will be used and thus the problem will be avoided - You would end up blocking a lot of legit users to try to block all GoogleTVs.

    Also, Google is trying to provide a platform, and most likely wants these companies to be able to tailor content to it - This little "issue" is most likely just one move in a game of chess between Google and these content producers.

  • by hackel (10452) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @12:55AM (#33994392) Journal

    The traditional TV networks, recording companies, movie producers, etc. are *never* going to give up their business model. EVER. They are dinosaurs and simply will not change. It's futile to think that they will. The only option is for them to go out of business. They will, of course, but it's going to be a long wait, unfortunately. They will continue to fight us at every turn, but eventually, they will be gone. Until then, our job is to hang in there, continue to support independent projects, use torrents so that they lose advertising revenue, and teach as many people as we know to do the same.

  • Re:It baffles me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 23, 2010 @01:08AM (#33994444)

    As you said, they are terrified that people will stop watching regular TV. Not only do most networks get paid by cable companies per customer (rather than based on viewership numbers), they also get much higher advertising rates on regular TV.

    They started putting content online for a variety of reasons:
    1) Because some people have switched permanently and they can't afford to miss out on that revenue
    2) Because they don't want to get left behind their competitors
    3) Because if they can increase online viewership sufficiently and/or prove to advertisers through metrics that internet ads yield a similar or greater return than traditional tv, they can up their online advertising prices.

    If ESPN3.com and similar sites succeed, expect all the major content providers to do the same thing. Charging an ISP per customer to let them have access to a website is what most TV companies (and even sites like NYTimes) want the most. Reliable baseline income + bonus from advertising is how these companies like to operate.

  • Re:It baffles me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GiveBenADollar (1722738) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @01:08AM (#33994446)
    There is a reason why very few companies last over 100 years, the longer it exists the harder it is to change. Right now network execs are still thinking in terms of time slots, competing with the other guy, and other outmoded concepts. The internet does scare them, that's why many shows are unavailable until a few days after airing. If consumers stop watching when the show is on the air they might be watching something else! The silly thing about this is DVRs have made timeslots meaningless, and have also made commercials easy to skip through. If they really wanted to profit they would embrace the internet and start showing all their programing online with ads so that the viewer can decide what he or she wants to watch and when.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 23, 2010 @01:12AM (#33994462)

    By blocking Google TV or similar services which allow end users (IE us) to access the higher quality versions of their shows, Online, and with whatever directed advertising they see fit to embed. They get higher viewership by those who "want" to watch the show, and with Google services they already use track viewers to other shows. They could gain viewership on shows that people otherwise might not watch because its on at bad time, or whatever.
    Not only that, but the whole thing about piracy is just stupid, Pirates will pirate, and nothing anyone tries will succeed in stopping it short 2 options. 1) stop producing content. 2) totalitarian crackdown (which worked so well for before. oh yeh, its not.)

    Those who fail to adapt to the world shall be crushed by it.

    these huge giant company's shall fall if they do not learn to embrace the new technology that gives people a "gee whiz that sure is handy" feeling.
    They tried to stop netflix, tried to stop online video, tried to stop MP3, every thing they try and stop fails in the long run. so why not just embrace change? stop being old and unmoving jackasses.

  • by guyminuslife (1349809) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @01:16AM (#33994468)

    Everyone seems to think that the networks don't know what they're doing. They're banning Google TV, when anyone with half a brain knows this sort of thing is the wave of the future. I'm willing to bet that the network execs do, in fact, have at least one half of a brain between them.

    It makes perfect sense if you think, well, maybe they don't really want to ban Google TV. More likely, they want to make a deal with Google, whereby Google pays them for the privilege of using their content.

  • Re:It baffles me (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 23, 2010 @01:16AM (#33994470)

    It amazes me how much they fail to realize the power of live or "live" simulcast tv. When you have a hit show, *no one* (who even kinda regularly watches it) is going to wait an hour, much less a day, just so they can watch the season finale or special episode without ads for fear that a friend might scoop them or an errant tweet ruins weeks of waiting. Maybe your commercial prices before that are a little lower, bit when you're doing dancing with the stars or Americas got talent and can pull up phone records to prove so many unique people paid such close attention that they paid to call/text/whatever, the rates you can charge for that time are huge. I can't even imagine what they charged for like the series finales of Seinfeld and friends.

    also, I thought I'd read that fox could charge more for simpsons ad time on Hulu than on air. Was that real, or was I just having a messed up dream (cause who the he'll dreams about advertising rate reports? Really...)?

  • Re:It baffles me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arkhan_jg (618674) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @01:37AM (#33994564)

    That one's easy. They're terrified of losing control of your big TV with a remote in the living room. Ordinary viewers do not have a computer hooked up the TV, and a laptop is just too inconvenient to use for most.

    The internet viewing streams are there to use hunched over your laptop or sat at your desk. It's not the 'premium' experience of the family sat on the sofa with an easy to use remote. The internet streams are based on that, and the revenue from that is relatively low.

    Remember, you are not the customer - the advertiser is the customer, you're the product, and the TV program is just there to get your eyeballs on the adverts. Google TV threatens to bring the internet streaming model to the comfy sofa TV viewing for the masses, and is a direct threat to their broadcast business model.

    Apple TV is a little different, as they get paid directly per episode 'bought' through itunes, and I imagine the profit margin on that is considerably higher than the adverts on the web-streaming model. It may even be higher than the traditional broadcast-advert model, and it works as apple users are used to paying through the nose for a slick experience. Ordinary users with a google box (or boxee box) streaming off of hulu etc? Not so much.

  • Re:It baffles me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @01:49AM (#33994608) Journal

    It baffles me that the networks' left and right hands don't know what the other are doing. With one hand they gleefully provide online versions of the shows and with the other, they smack down anyone (Boxee, Google) that tries to make the consumption of those products easier.

    Put it this way: if they wanted to make the free versions of their shows as easy to access as possible, they would provide downloadable DRM-free copies to anyone that wanted them. The point is not to make access easy, it's to make access difficult and annoying. It's to make the free versions good advertising, but not good enough to replace the paid-for experience. You have to remember that, for a lot of people, just turning on their computer and watching on their small computer screen is turn-off enough, compared to watching on the television.

  • Re:meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dahamma (304068) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @02:06AM (#33994652)

    Yeah, that's the *other* problem... the networks have so far treated Internet streaming of shows as an oddity that they need to get involved in to be relevant. But now that they think people may actually use it as their *primary* source of content, they are confused and terrified.

    As for integrating into DVRs - that would be interesting. But the DVR industry is basically made up of 2 camps today - the innovative, struggling companies (Tivo, Moxi, etc) relying on govt regulations like CableCard to survive at all. And the big, bloated cable hardware suppliers (General Instruments aka Motorola, and Scientific Atlanta aka Cisco) that have no concept of user interface or quality control, but have enough influence to dominate the OEM cable box market.

    In the end, though, content availability is all about the providers/owners feeling comfortable with the (revenue from the) distribution model. Can they make a profit with free online content with ads? Do they get enough share from an iTunes transaction? Will they get enough of a cut from a monthly fee in a subscription service? It's going to be an interesting battle...

  • Re:meh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 23, 2010 @02:23AM (#33994698)

    Indeed, saying there is no need for an accessible software platform for set-tops is like saying there's no need for one on smartphones. 6 years ago you might have had some credibility in saying that about phones -- today, with iOS & Android out, you'd just sound like an idiot.

    The manufacturers of TV accessory equipment haven't progressed much more software-wise than did the old-era dumbphone lineups -- they even intentionally cripple devices in the same way. It's wonderful when the entire fucking industry engages in planned obsolescence.

  • Re:It baffles me (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 23, 2010 @02:41AM (#33994750)

    just turning on their computer and watching on their small computer screen is turn-off enough, compared to watching on the television.

    What is the source of this myth that "computer screens" and "televisions" are different things, having different sizes and used in different rooms?

    Where did people start to get the idea that turning on a "computer" is different than turning on an enclosure with a CPU and RAM and HDMI-out which just happens to be labeled "cable box" or "DVD player" or "Wii" or "Roku"?

    A box is a box and a screen is a screen. They're all just computers and monitors. I'm browsing on my 46" monitor right now.

  • Re:It baffles me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bazorg (911295) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @03:03AM (#33994806) Homepage
    I believe I understand their reasons. If you switch the TV on on a channel or go to the website of the TV channel, you are still using and reinforcing the usefulness of the brand of that channel. If you fire up your computer, do some search for specific TV shows and watch them from within a google user interface, then the channel becomes less important, therefore less valuable for advertisers.

    It might be a losing battle, but I understand why companies would fight it for as long as possible. It certainly seems better to be a good TV channel than to be one of the random websites where people land if they want to watch a TV show that has significant brand recognition and for that reason cost a lot of money for the channel to have the right to broadcast it.

  • Re:God damnit.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ooshna (1654125) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @03:05AM (#33994812)
    Isn't that what the unfast-forwardable ads they show are for? I mean they already make money forcing me to watch those shitty Wheat Thins ads (I'm looking at you Daily Show). Why should they charge Google for something I can watch for free on someone's WebTV?
  • Re:It baffles me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 23, 2010 @03:11AM (#33994832)

    http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/06/26/2236210/The-Simpsons-Worth-More-Per-Viewer-On-Hulu-Than-On-Fox?from=rss

    Actually, some shows are worth more online than via nielsen rating driven advertising. Many shows have approached, or surpassed broadcast advertising income per viewer, and the number of shows are growing every day. The logic behind this is simple. People are more likely to actually watch/listen to the ads via Hulu than they are via broadcast. With only a single commercial during breaks, the majority of us will just sit through it.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=atKGiQOMco.Y

    This is a battle of control, who gets the income, and how the prices are structured.

  • Re:God damnit.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rivalz (1431453) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @04:29AM (#33995066)

    Well for one the tv studios didn't innovate when the technology was ripe. Now they missed out on the money train and are afraid of their revenue stream taking a hit. Now they are going to alienate themselves from portions of their audience. I don't follow TV statistics but I would bet that the number of TV viewers & subscriptions has leveled out and will start to decrease as tv over the internet takes hold.

    Instead of embracing technology and taking their beating earlythey will wait a few more years and try and launch their own version which will suck.
    Most companies have the mentality of avoiding investing in new tech that would cut into their revenue. Even though that new technology might insure or increase its market share.

    Like it or not google seems to be pushing for innovation in almost all forms of communication / entertainment.

    Let me know when google bank, google mobile, google car, google real estate come online.

  • by Geminii (954348) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @04:35AM (#33995088)

    Because if Google reacts like that, it would be saying that the media companies are right and Google is sneaking around being dastardly.

    If Google simply sits there, patiently, eventually Big Media will, snarling all the way, cave. At which point Google has the upper hand in all dealings. And all it has to do in the meantime is keep its hand out with a delicious snackie and say soothing things like "We completely respect the right of the TV companies to make decisions they believe are in their best interests" and "Who's a good boy then?".

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @06:46AM (#33995488) Journal

    Interesting post

    Is any of that legal?

    Too bad my Verizon ISP stopped carrying Usenet newsgroups. I can understand the newsgroups used a lot of bandwidth/storage, but they could have dropped the *.binary groups and kept pure text forums like rec.arts.tv or rec.arts.startrek. (sigh) At least they haven't installed datacaps like my other ISP comcast did.

  • Re:God damnit.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @07:30AM (#33995664) Homepage

    > Why? Because Google ( a business in the business of making money ) wants
    > to make boat loads of money on their product without paying for it?

    No. They are just providing a means to read the same data that is being provided for free to anyone else.

    They are by no stretch of the imagination "leeches" or "pirates".

    The notion that they are is just pure NewSpeak.

    This is the Net Neutrality problem in action. Although in this case it is website owners trying to discriminate based on what web browser they see.

  • Re:It baffles me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rich0 (548339) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @09:23AM (#33996226) Homepage

    But perhaps it's time TV stop spending 1-2 million dollars per episode?

    Well, if they did that then ANYBODY could create a TV show. And, since Google TV would make random-webpage-RSS-feed as easy to tune into as CBS, there goes the oligopoly.

    Right now the major networks control the distribution of television, and the barrier to entry is extremely high (what does it cost to actually get something broadcast to the majority of TV sets in the US?).

    If you make TV nothing more than an RSS feed, then all you need is a pipe big enough to serve it, and of course that is scalable (buy a pipe for 10 viewers, and then keep upgrading it with increasing ad revenue as it grows).

    Internet TV is a recipe for the end of the major networks, and they know it.

  • by camperslo (704715) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @02:01PM (#33998074)

    There's something sinister about blocking display of content on a platform that otherwise supports the tech needed for viewing. It certainly looks to be anti-competitive behavior worthy of examination by the F.C.C. or whoever.

    I wonder what else they're doing.

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