Google TV‘s one big, lofty goal of a main objective is to blur and even erase the line between web content and broadcast television. If you’re a TV network, that’s the scariest proposition you’ve ever heard. Networks bank on the value customers place on always-on, professionally produced, easily-accessible content. But if CBS becomes just another “video feed” that you find in your Google TV search, appearing equal to a Vimeo clip, that value is minimized (see Logitech Revue unboxing and preview). When the distinction goes away completely, web video will be the only source of “teevee,” and web video doesn’t pay nearly as much as broadcast does.
So to avoid cannibalizing that value, 3 of the major networks have blocked Google TV’s access to their web content. When gTV (I think I like this abbreviation) users search for Modern Family, Two and a Half Men, and The Office, they’ll see it on live TV or set their DVRs to record it, but will not be able to access episodes on the respective networks’ website. Fox is still allowing access, but is unsure of how they feel about Google TV.
A Google spokesperson had this to say:
“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.”
In any case, this seems like an attempt to stave off the inevitable, or at least to buy time until the networks figure out how to better monetize web video. Google is all too happy to wait, serve up some ads related to your viewing habits, and perpetuate Android and its marketplace.