Google Announces Content Partners for Google TV

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Google announced on Monday several content partners for its upcoming Google TV platform. In a blog post, Ambarish Kenghe, Developer Product Manager for Google TV, said that several major media (and one sports) companies were working on optimizing their content for delivery through the system, including Turner Broadcasting, NBC Universal, HBO, and the NBA.

Google TV is an online service being offered by the search giant to TV manufacturers that can then add it their TV sets. With it, users can access Google search, YouTube, Google Docs and other services, or simply use Google’s Chrome browser to access the Web itself.

The company describes Google TV as, “a platform that combines your current TV programming and the open web into a single, seamless entertainment experience. […] Since our announcement, we’ve been overwhelmed by interest from partners on how they can use the Google TV platform to personalize, monetize and distribute their content in new ways.”

To wit:

  • Turner Broadcasting has been hard at work optimizing some of their most popular Web sites for viewing on Google TV, including TBS, TNT, CNN, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, available anytime through Google TV.
  • NBC Universal has collaborated with Google TV to bring CNBC Real-Time, an application that allows you to track your favorite stocks and access news feeds while enjoying the best financial news from CNBC directly on the TV screen.
  • HBO will bring access to hundreds of hours of programming to Google TV with HBO GO. Authenticated subscribers will soon be able to access all of their favorite HBO content on-demand in an enhanced Web site for Google TV.
  • NBA has built NBA Game Time, an application that lets you follow game scores in real-time and catch up on the latest highlights from your favorite team in HD.

Google has launched a new site for the service, a site with videos of all the features you can get with the service. The company also released this video to demonstrate the current state of the service. [Editor’s note: Notice how they “cheat” by including Maria Bartiromo from CNBC in one of the examples!]

Comments

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I wish Apple still made stuff like this. Cool and useful, but open to what their content partners want to try. Via Adobe AIR (set for release on Android in the next week), there will be over a million people who have the skills and tools develop content apps for this thing. There will surely be amazing ideas implemented that nobody at Google, Logitech, Sony, Intel, or any other big company associated with this device had ever considered.

The predominant ways you mix TV with Internet media and services will probably be defined as much by creative 3rd party developers as by any of the big players.

FlipFriddle

Ugh. More predictions. Let’s keep your glowing reviews of this product under wraps until it actually ships. At least Apple shipped something. GoogleTV is still hardly a replacement for cable or satellite, just like AppleTV (where’s our local content and live sports?)

Content tied to individual devices via exclusivity deals sounds like a nightmare. So if you want the NFL Sunday Ticket you have to buy satellite, NHL and Soccer: cable, NBA: GoogleTV, etc. Doesn’t sound like openness and choice to me. Sounds like paying a crapload more for content than what you get now. Not to mention a stack of boxes on my furniture.

This whole idea is in its infancy and it’ll be a while before we know if cable and satellite are doomed.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Flip: I think you misunderstand what Google TV does. Your cable or satellite box actually gets plugged into the Google TV unit via HDMI cable, and the Google TV will control the cable/satellite box. Think of it as augmented TV reality, powered by an HTPC rather than a media streamer.

It’s actually kindof interesting how Google will leverage its pre-existing ad relationships with DISH Network and DirecTV to integrate Google TV with these services. See this page from DISH.

Google made a platform that content providers can get behind. These providers develop their own apps that plug into the platform, serve up their own content, and figure out their own pricing. Meanwhile, Apple built a silo-box with one true model of pricing and purchasing, along with a giant server farm in North Carolina. Apple has no synergies to exploit between its ad platform and TV platform.

You can think of Google’s core competency as “content integrator”. In mobile and in the living room, they outsource the hardware production and bring the content together from diverse sources. They grease the tracks where needed, but depend on market participants to do lots of heavy lifting. They trust all comers who have something to add to the whole.

Apple builds pretty hardware and knows how to control things end-to-end for an arguably superior user experience… in a vacuum. Because when the content providers (or app providers) feel overly controlled, they just don’t show up.

FlipFriddle

Interesting. But it’s still vaporware at the moment, and I find the problem still exists where content exclusivity is tied to certain hardware which is a problem. That has nothing to do with GoogleTV, and everything to do with the content providers (HBO, NFL, ESPN, etc.).

Google’s core competency is ad revenue and targeted advertising for their advertising customers generated by search.

I still worry about Google’s motives behind this. Their business is based on ad revenues and the collection of data to offer targeted eyeballs to their customers (who are ad buyers, not us). When I start watching a sci-fi movie on NetFlix, amd I gonna get an admob pop-up telling me about a SyFY series for rent through GoogleTV? I hope not, when I just paid to watch something. I don’t have to deal with that with free over the air broadcasts of potentially the same content. And apps? So what. Now I can get a virus on my TV? Whee. Sign me up for that.

We’ll see what happens when this thing ships.

jfbiii

Good luck with that. I mean,

“It’s like building a DVR for the web”

What the hell does that even mean? The web is already like a giant DVR.

I don’t think Apple’s found the right formula, either. This is at least the second attempt to “computerize” the TV. I’ll lump Google in with Apple in that. The first one was a dismal failing by MS. It worked for a very small audience. My grandmother, for instance, liked hers. I just don’t see big-screen TVs becoming the new computers without a total revolution in interface. Voice search isn’t going to be enough, IMO. Neither is a million crappy AIR apps delivering what we already get on the web in a tougher to use/read interface.

But hey, NBC Universal is on board. With a stock ticker that sits right next to their programming. Hot damn! No way Steve Jobs could have pulled that deal off.

jfbiii

A larger problem, I think, is that the social nature of the TV in most households doesn’t really lend itself to the computer or mobile device model, both of which are more solitary experiences. No way I could watch TV with some jackass flipping around to look at his twitters in the middle of ATHF. You got a phone you can use for that…don’t inflict it on me.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I think you’ll be surprised how people use this device, what content providers deliver, and what developers enable. Mock it all you want for not being a sterile, curated, uniform Apple labeled solution.

Group TV watching will be huge, especially with sporting events. My extended family already does this with USC football games, as we’re spread a little too far to be together for most games. Augment the video with tweets from a group and it’s a more enriching viewing experience. We do it with some home-grown software for shits an giggles.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Quick vaporware update, courtesy of Nightline, Hulu, and Engadget.

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