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Google To Sell TV Time Online?

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The Internet, magazines, newspapers, mobile phones, radio, and recently, maybe even billboards. But is Google going to top all those media this year by working with CBS to set up an online auction for TV advertising spots? Reports conflict, and Google, as usual, will not “comment on rumor or speculation.”

Google says its main mission is to index the world’s information and to do it in an un-evil way. Of course, the cost of indexing and not-evil business practices is provided by advertising. They should amend that mission statement to include, “collect all the world’s advertising money.”

AdAge’s expert disagrees with MediaPost’s expert about the likelihood of a Google/CBS partnership to sell TV ads online. But for those of us who’ve watched Google closely, we know that anything is possible – and likely.

Tim Spengler, chief activation officer at Initiative North America, believes Google and CBS will make a big announcement in 2007 that they will test an “online auction with local media.”

Okay, he says “local media,” and I’m stretching that to mean TV, why couldn’t that include television? Time Warner’s thought about it. Wal-Mart, Microsoft, HP, and Home Depot gave eBay $50 million to fire up an auction site for TV ad time. Where would that leave Google in the game? Missing out, that’s where.

Google is already in talks with CBS to leverage radio markets, and is working about a deal for advertising and YouTube content. It’s not a far stretch to think that Google could use its TV connections, its technology, its money, its competitive spirit to get into TV. In fact, TV is the only medium they’re missing.

Merrill Lynch and lead broadcast analyst Jessica Reif Cohen say it’s not going to happen. “We would expect a deal to include low quality radio inventory for use with Google’s dMarc service, but do not believe a deal for CBS’s television network or TV station advertising time is likely,” said Cohen.

Alright, so not right now. But in three months? Six months? And I wonder whose metrics they would use to set pricing. Nielsen? Oh yeah, Google’s own.

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