The list of networks blocking content from Google TV continues to grow. Already Viacom, Hulu, Fox, CBC, NBC, and ABC have restricted their online content from Google TV devices. But why? Revenue protection, control, and fear come to mind. But let’s face it, the way we watch video content is changing rapidly.
With the increased popularity of the perpetual rental model (Netflix style) and streaming online (Hulu style) consumers can now choose their content and when they want to watch it. Doesn’t the story sound familiar? Ma Bell and the local telcos have already been through this and are continuing to see decreases in the number of “land line” phone subscribers. YouTube started the parade for alternative video content and the number of options continues to increase. Rather than fighting the evolution of technology and video content, the networks,cable providers, and satellite providers need to join the game to stay relevant and part of the lives of the next generation.
Blocking new business models is really a strategy to create a ‘stop’ while the networks can think about how to approach online content served by Google. Yet, the launch of Google TV was not a secret. It was publicized well in advance giving the networks plenty of time to consider their strategy and response. Online streaming may not command the same revenue dollar as traditional broadcasting, but strategists and executives need to get their heads together to figure out how to make it work. Blocking content is only deflecting the consumers that they need to drive the advertising dollars in the first place.
Google doesn’t really care that these networks are blocking their content. They are positioning themselves for something different; control of the biggest screen in the house. Google’s target audience is the younger generation and tech savy that will be the household decision makers of tomorrow. They’ll stream content where it can be found and will take advantage of partners that will play in this space. Google (and other online streaming providers) will start to gain a percentage viewing share of the big screens. If the major networks choose not to be part of the content, they will find themselves losing market share and revenue anyways.