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Networks won’t do Google TV, build your own with You Tube

Op Ed

The web world wasn’t really stunned by the announcement that Youtube CEO, and the third and final of the original founders left, will be stepping down from day to day operations and leave his CEO title at the door. Hurley told a conference in Dublin Ireland that he would take on a more advisory role while Google’s golden ad person Salar Kamanger continues to run the San Bruno based Youtube.

Google has also recently restructured Google TV and Youtube and combined them into one unit.  Google told the Seattle Post Intelligencer in no uncertain words that the move had nothing to do with the announcement that ABC, CBS and NBC would block their online content from Google TV devices.

Prior to heading up YouTube, Kamanger, Google Inc Vice President, helped to start ad-words the ad based service that generates most of Google’s revenue.  Now with a bunch of premium content out of the mix Google is in a mad dash to find ways to continue to monetize it’s Google TV.

After reading a lot about Google TV and then spending about 3 hours grilling product specialists and getting hands on experience at the Sony Internet TV event in New York, I was convinced that Google TV is something consumers will want in their homes but the technology will take a while to be embraced. As a “Tech journalist” or whatever you want to call me, I have a lot of friends who have had their computers and televisions hooked together for years. So this is really nothing new to them, or me, sharing the experience of live TV on a split screen with the internet. Wow! right?

Google TV via the Sony Internet TV was a little different, more crisp with easier transitions. The internet could be displayed on the television on an opaque layer above the live content. You could easily search one program name and find access to live TV content, DVR’d content or archives via the internet. A DVR machine on steroids? Maybe in it’s current state, but there is so much more available as people and developers especially embrace the concept.

Imagine being able to watch Anthony Sullivan, America’s new favorite pitchman on a live infomercial and then with one click, being able to click and execute your order without having to pick up the phone or go to another website.  Imagine an interactive game show like “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” only this time people who want to play at home really play at home.  This is where Google TV will eclipse competitive products and combinations of products already available in the market.

So three major networks have decided to not allow access to their web based archives via Google TV. Does that damage the experience, sure. Although it’s a hinderence to Google it’s not a deal breaker by any stretch. In fact I’d hypothesis that it’s actually the networks missing out and of course the consumers.

However what is Google’s knee jerk reaction? Allegedly Google is going to, or has already, started pitching YouTube as a network against the likes of Fox and in place of NBC, CBS and ABC. In fact a Google spokesperson said

“The best content doesn’t have to be created in a studio or on the back lot,
And indeed it does, Youtube serves up billions of videos daily from everyone from me to the latest R&B sensation. Regardless of the way it’s positioned, Youtube is already built into the Google TV experience. Now if my grandmother buys a Google TV (or I get one for her) she can watch my badly lit unboxing videos or excerpts from her favorite soap opera, but is this really network worthy? Is Kamanger about to change the overall experience?
My fear as this shakes out is that Kamanger and Google will start making tiers of YouTube programming, so my poorly lit videos won’t make it on Google TV, unless I get a better camera. Is it this intense drive for monetization and the fear that the self broadcaster ideals behind YouTubes infrastructure the real reason that Hurley stepped down.  You may recall that Vice President of Corporate Development, David Lawee, recently said of Android’s Andy Rubin, that it’s the guys that stick around that show the projects that make it…

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