Business Models

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
advertising, blocking, google tv, tv


Odd That TV Networks Would Block Their Own Ads From Being Shown To Users Who Want To Watch

from the this-makes-very-little-sense dept

There have been all these stories lately about how the various TV networks are "blocking Google TV." But, that's getting the story backwards. What the networks are doing is not blocking Google TV -- which is basically just a browser -- but they're blocking their own, freely available content and advertisements from being accessible via a particular browser. It's difficult to see how this makes any sense at all. It's really a move from an industry that appears to (a) not fully understand Google TV (which could be Google's fault in how it was presented) and (b) be so hell-bent on "protecting" a part of its business, that it refuses to recognize the opportunities for embracing the internet (i.e., getting more people to see its advertisements). Of course, part of the "problem" is that the networks have been getting fat, happy and stupid on retransmission dollars, but that's a temporary blip, only possible due to the technology which hasn't totally broken down the walls yet. But that technology is coming one way or another (and it's not just Google). The networks would be smart to notice what happened to the music industry when it refused to work with the "legitimate" players early on: driving traffic and interest to underground players who had no interest whatsoever in working with them. It's a shame that the TV networks now appear to want to do the same exact thing.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2010 @ 6:12pm

    Pretty soon the incumbents will get the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security involved in going after competitors for whatever reason they can find (ie: anti trust violations).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Robert Ring (profile), Nov 12th, 2010 @ 6:25pm

    You know, I recently noticed that CBS did sort of the same thing with YouTube. They just took down all of their full Star Trek episodes (which the company itself had uploaded, with commercials) from YouTube. Now they're only available on CBS's website (as they had previously been along with YouTube), also with commercials. What kind of sense does it make to take them off of the internet's biggest stop for video content? Especially considering YouTube's search/browse interface, as imperfect as it is, is still eons better than that of CBS.

    These television networks. They confuse me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2010 @ 6:31pm

    Reminds me of how TAM's mom went underground when craigslist got all crazy saving the children.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Nov 12th, 2010 @ 6:37pm

    The Goog = The Borg. TV networks don't want to be absorbed.

    To put in terms you might understand. Of course, you don't see Google as bad, but maybe you can at least grasp that network execs view it as a rival.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    MrWilson, Nov 12th, 2010 @ 6:48pm

    Re: The Goog = The Borg. TV networks don't want to be absorbed.

    While your Borg analogy obviously indicates a bias of perceiving Google as imperialistic, invasive, and ultimately evil, it is at least accurate in the sense that Google adapts as well as the Borg does (though I would argue it isn't necessarily evil at all).

    The studios are dinosaurs who think they can survive the inevitable extinction level event by trying to step on all the previously insignificant species. The giant asteroid that's going to kill the studios has been coming for some time and squashing the other species' that are more likely to adapt to the inevitable cataclysm and survive doesn't ensure the survival of the giant, obtuse, stubborn studios. Their inevitable demise is not going to be brought on by competition, but by a paradigm shift that is already happening.

    Google isn't causing the obsolescence of the studios, it's just the ape learning to use tools while the dinosaurs are strutting about like kings, unaware that they're standing on what will become a very deep impact crater shortly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Pks, Nov 12th, 2010 @ 7:08pm

    Boggles my mind.

    I've wondered about it for a while. Some of CBS's shows went from being viewable on their website to, well... not being viewable on their website.

    This is just a ridiculous extension of that. I mean, I want to see these shows. And, glad you asked, I happen to have better things to do at the time when these shows air. So I turn to Hulu, and watch whatever is in there. And I may turn to other sources for the shows I don't find in Hulu. If I got GoogleTV, that would mean _all_ my shows. I am _voluntarily_ agreeing to watch your commercials, but you don't want to show them to me? That's fine.

    They figure they will eventually prevail in squashing all those "other sources" via legal means but they won't. a) because illegal sources keep showing up faster than they can kill them. b) because my "other sources" aren't even illegal: a tv-tuner turns an old computer into a dvr. I don't watch commercials in that case, since I just skip them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Nov 12th, 2010 @ 8:57pm

    Re: Re: The Goog = The Borg. TV networks don't want to be absorbed.

    Not to be contentious, but it's an equation, not an analogy. I try to avoid analogies; they're all feeble.

    My point, and answer to your analogy is that the reptiles *know* Google is the up and coming new monster, and at best, they aren't inclined to help it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    MrWilson, Nov 12th, 2010 @ 10:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: The Goog = The Borg. TV networks don't want to be absorbed.

    The analogy was implied, i.e. "Google is the Borg and TV networks are other species' who prefer not to be assimilated." If it's an equation then you would be saying that Google is literally equal to the Borg. I doubt that's what you intended, so in the use of a non-literal equation, you would likely be making an analogy, or at least one of its cousins, simile and metaphor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2010 @ 10:42pm

    There are at least a dozen of internet TV companies at the moment is just not easy to find them right now.

    BTW Google even made it more difficult to find anything on Youtube, they took down the browse capability that have some sort out channels and made it confusing. You no longer can find movies with easy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    btrussell (profile), Nov 13th, 2010 @ 2:55am


    Page hits.
    They want the ad dollars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Wolfy, Nov 13th, 2010 @ 5:36am

    Since the web was capable of handling video, I wondered why the networks didn't stream their own programming with the commercials intact. They would have accurate view counts they could show their advertisers, unlike the "estimates" provided by the Nielsen ratings system.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    David Muir (profile), Nov 13th, 2010 @ 6:37am

    Streaming video has full episodes of many shows and I will watch the whole commercial at the beginning of each segment (because it is just one short and usually entertaining diversion). I never do that with shows I record on my PVR. It sounds like I am not unique, so this is another case of the networks shooting themselves in the foot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2010 @ 7:55am

    Wolfy....the reason why is because they THINK that by removing this content from the will be forced to watch cable, and buy the DVD box sets. That's how their minds think. They truly believe that people will continue to buy overpriced episodes in boxes that will take up valuable space in people's home. Or, they think that you don't mind paying $60 for a season of something on Itunes that you can't even burn to disk. This is going to be an ugly drawn out battle that will last about another 2-5 years. The kids growing up now days are NOT going to follow the old traditional methods of watching and paying for cable T.V. If they don't figure out that people want to watch T.V and movies online, when they want to watch and at a reasonable price, then their model will put them out of business.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2010 @ 7:58am

    There is also a group of people like me, who remember not too long ago when T.V was completely free and only required an antenna. Sure there were commercials, but no one cared. Now, it's about paying way too much for the service, and watching commercials and not getting content that you want.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), Nov 13th, 2010 @ 8:57am

    I don't think so...

    I hear a lot about the demise of the old media companies in this blog, but I just don't see it happening. I'm sure that the business models will be forced to evolve with technology, even if they fight against evolution all the way, but they will not just die, as they are just too large and politically entrenched.

    TV, journalism, music, movies; they all face changes that will reshape the way their business is conducted, but the large companies that control them now will evolve over time.

    The good thing about all this is that while the big guys are evolving there is a lot of room for the little guys to enter previously closed markets and begin competing. Personally Im looking forward to innovation in all the places where it was previously blocked by gatekeepers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    taoareyou, Nov 13th, 2010 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re:

    Do people really still see ads on web pages? I can't remember the last ad I saw. I would think that a large percentage of people know about AdBlock by now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    Marcel de Jong (profile), Nov 13th, 2010 @ 9:19am

    Learning? From the mistake of others? We all know that won't be happening. Not after the MPAA went the exact same route as the RIAA, even though evidence from the RIAA's actions pointed them in the other direction.

    These old media execs wouldn't be able to grasp a profitable future if it was being dangled in front of them.

    I can't wait till they go extinct.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    bdhoro (profile), Nov 13th, 2010 @ 9:36am

    Makes no sense

    There are many advertising based businesses that just don't get it. More people watching = more revenue. Thats the equation they should be thinking about.

    The basic idea of owning a TV station is that your customers aren't the people watching, they're the people paying by buying advertising. It should be the job of the TV execs to make their station the most desirable to their advertisers by capturing the most viewers.

    That should mean each station delivering their content in every conceivable way that people would want to watch, maximizing traffic to your advertisers.

    But everything they do makes it seem like they want less people to watch ads. Removing content essentially only removes your ability to deliver advertising because if its not easy to watch legally on the internet it will be easy to download illegally which does limit the TV station's' revenue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    coldbrew, Nov 13th, 2010 @ 10:18am

    Re: Makes no sense...unless you consider Revenue

    I think what you are missing are the rates advertisers are willing to pay on the web vs. tv. Because tv (and magazines/newspapers, for that matter) is perceived by advertisers to be a more valuable medium, they are willing to pay substantially more for advertising. My understanding is that this thinking is derived from the idea of divided (web) vs. undivided (old media) attention; this is where the expression "analog dollars for digital pennies" comes from.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    btrussell (profile), Nov 13th, 2010 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    ...and NoScript.

    But yes, there are many who don't know about these.
    Still not the point though, you need the page hits first.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    Johnny5k (profile), Nov 13th, 2010 @ 3:13pm

    They're both greedy AND stupid.

    I get 100% of my TV from the internet, through my HTPC - exactly what Google was trying to make easier & more mainstream with the GoogleTV. The problem with (the legal options for) my setup is, the content is all over the place, and I'm not going to skip around from Hulu to to to get it. If it were all on Hulu (or even Hulu Plus), or easily accessible like it should be on GoogleTV, I'd probably get it all that way - and watch their (*targeted*) ads. But instead, it's much easier for me to just download it all from the same ('underground') place. If they allowed devices like GoogleTV, I wouldn't have to work around their system. They may not get as much in advertising revenue if it's streamed online - but they get *something* - which is more than they're getting from me now.

    They also need to figure out that targeted ads are exponentially more valuable than blanket ads. I would have no problem allowing them access to my Google or Facebook data, so they could better target ads for me. I'd much rather sit through computer ads than, say, tampon ads, and they should be able to figure out which one to serve up to me based on my Facebook profile. Even without the Facebook integration, just the data Hulu collects should be enough to more accurately target ads at me, just based on all the videos I watch. They're missing a huge opportunity to actually make *more* from advertising, but they're missing it because they're just too stupid & stuck in their old ways to see it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2010 @ 12:57am

    From the uk I find lots of adverts/show previews blocked from cbs, I've never understood why.

    As Jonny5k points out, the solution for a content distributor blocking content is to use a service that provides some kind of aggregation. Be that a torrent website / streaming service / whatever. All they do is drive the users away from their content distribution network, which inevitably means we don't watch their adverts.

    These companies need to embrace googletv / youview / any other similar service if they want to win back people like me, that are pissed off with the locking down of content.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Nov 15th, 2010 @ 6:07am

    Network users will be able to block ads themselves!

    I didn't state that previously, since obvious, but streaming to the net inherently holds the possibility of skipping ads, and I think that's another part you guys just don't get, especially those bragging of getting TV from "underground" streams.

    If the TV networks go down the path you want, won't be long before they can't at all guarantee anyone actually sees ads, consequently revenue falls, and the crap "content" gets yet worse. For instance, between Noscript and a hosts file, I almost never see ads, and if they're from a separable site and annoy me, I just add them into hosts file. -- That *cannot* be *allowed* with "content" supported by ads! The whole deal falls apart! -- RIght, it's fine for *me*, because *I* don't mind if it does fall apart! -- But you guys who want your televised sports and other crap do *not* have anything viable to replace advertising support, and you're *not* willing to pay for "content" on the web either.

    I've never been fond of advertising support -- because of the disconnect between what I want to view and how it's paid for -- but you guys seem to think that you can completely sever the connection yet still get the "content".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2010 @ 6:58am

    So what! I bought a digital box and get the networks for free. How stupid to pay for something you get for free. People really are dumber than they look. You buy cable and you get a hundred paid 1/2 hour advertisements. When I saw that I cancelled cable. I am appalled at the audacity of a network charging me to watch shows that they were paid to broadcast. Bite me suckers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 15th, 2010 @ 9:30am

    "The networks would be smart to notice what happened to the music industry when it refused to work with the "legitimate" players early on: driving traffic and interest to underground players who had no interest whatsoever in working with them."

    They never will see that they are following the same path as the record labels did. It is against their nature. Short term profits rule. In the future shows will be viewed or sold individually (not bundles, channels), that the high amount they charge for access to their shows will disappear, etc. They will live by the financial quarter ... a neat phrase occured to me ...

    Live by the quarter, die by the quarter ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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