ABC, NBC, CBS Block Content from Viewers Using Google TV

    October 22, 2010
    Chris Crum

Not only is Hulu being blocked on Google TV, but so is the content at network sites like ABC, NBC, and CBS. Essentially, the TV stations are just blocking people from watching their content on the web (via their own sites). I’m having a hard time figuring out why this makes sense for a variety of reasons. 

First of all, Google TV is simply providing a web browser for users to access web content on their TVs. With regard to the content, it’s no different than if you were to hook up your computer to your TV and go to these stations’ sites. 

How is making it harder for customers to access your content a good business model? Somebody please tell me

Second, the networks are just going to drive Google TV users (and possibly others simply out of spite) to access their content from some other site that is streaming it without permission or to download pirated copies of shows. 

What’s Google think about it? 

"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," a Google spokeswoman said in a statement. as quoted by the Wall Street Journal. 

Here’s another interesting sample from that WSJ article:

Some TV executives said they were worried their shows would be lost in the larger Internet. Some, including Disney and NBC, were also concerned about Google’s stance on websites that offer pirated content, according to people familiar with their thinking.

So just blocking the content from the real source must be the solution right? 

Will the networks start blocking Chrome users too? Really, they already are to some extent, as Google TV  uses Chrome for its web browser (albeit a limited version). Maybe they’ll block Firefox users. What about IE? Microsoft also has Bing, which could drive people right to the network sites too…even on a TV!

Seriously, why have content on the sites at all? 

Who wins as a result of the networks doing this?

Of course Google doesn’t win (which I’m guessing is the point), because they have a new product that is potentially game-changing and now they’re trying to sell it, but users can’t access the shows they want directly from these networks on the web, and that’s not going to help sales. I don’t see how the networks win, because they’re alienating viewers and driving them to alternative sources or alternative programming altogether. Obviously the consumers don’t win, because they’re simply inconvenienced into having to find said alternatives, after paying the money for Google TV, expecting the entire web at their finger tips, as advertised. 

More Views for Online Video Providers

Online video content providers could actually gain some viewers from this. If the major networks don’t want the viewers, there are a lot of people craving audiences out there, that will happily take them. A lot of them still have DVRs, so they can still record shows from the networks and watch them whenever they want, while fast forwarding through the ads (which they wouldn’t be able to do watching the shows online). 

Instead of blocking access, perhaps the networks should be more worried about providing better content to compete with the rest of the web. They are already in the best position to do so, financially, and from a brand perspective.