Following the launch of Google TV in America, a bunch of major US TV networks have blocked the company from their content. But if they want the highest ratings, it’s about time they embraced web TV in its entirety.
Google TV – where the internet meets television. The search engine company hopes to grab our imagination with an experience that lets us search all over the net for the TV content we want to watch, right in our living room.
And why not? Surely, this is the future when over three-quarters of students apparently watch telly online. Internet innovations like BBC iPlayer (it’s going international soon) show that TV is going in one direction. No, not into the third dimension – into the search dimension.
Networks boycott Google TV
But Google TV has so far had a lukewarm reception in the States. And it’s easy to see why – most of the major US TV networks have boycotted its arrival.
Fox has now joined CBC, ABC and NBC in refusing to air their shows on Google’s new platform. Why? Quite simply – they’re afraid. They’re afraid that they’ll lose control of their profits.
Unlike other online TV offerings in America, like Hulu, there’s much more freedom in Google’s offering. Google TV is, in short, a telly web browser that gives access to the network’s own websites. And because there’s more money in TV commercials than online ads, they won’t jump on board.
All internet TV must be embraced
However, we’ve seen it all before – people watch TV online whether it’s network supported or not. And when the networks don’t offer it online, people find other methods, like piracy.
This is another of the fears surrounding Google TV – it can potentially surface pirated video content. But there’s one very simple way to stop piracy – make it easier for people to watch your content and make a profit from it in the meantime. If networks offer their shows as soon as possible and in higher quality, piracy needn’t exist.
It’s the same story for internet TV in the living room – the networks may be afraid, but it’s coming whether they like it or not. And if they don’t jump on board, they won’t reap the benefits.
Interactive and social TV is the future
We can see these benefits already. The social aspect of the internet is helping television ratings explode, with sharing on Twitter and Facebook being credited with producing some of the highest viewer counts for live TV. MTV’s VMA awards enjoyed over two million tweets, leading to over 11 million viewers – MTV’s highest since 2002.
Perhaps you’ve seen people post about The X Factor or The Apprentice on Facebook or Twitter? It’s this type of social interaction that feeds straight back into TV viewing, and the sooner it’s integrated into the televisions themselves (rather than having to use your mobile or laptop at the same time) the better.
Google hasn’t set a UK launch for its platform yet, but when it does finally arrive, this country’s networks better jump in head first – otherwise they’ll be left behind. However, the question still remains, do you want to join the searching and social internet TV, or would you rather keep the straightforward viewing experience you’re used to?