Tag Archives: GoogleTV

What the Motorola deal means for Google TV

They’re a leading home device maker, and that’s also a big opportunity,” Google CEO Larry Page said of Motorola on Monday. “We’re working with them in the industry to really accelerate innovation.

By “accelerate innovation” Page means shoving free Google TV-enabled Motorola set-top boxes down the throats of consumers via the cable companies, and then claiming victory in market share over Apple.

They couldn’t sell the crappy Google TV to consumers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t bundle it to Comcast and Time Warner. Why improve the product into something people actually like when you can just buy the company that has all the licensing deals with providers? That way people will own a Google TV, whether they want one or not.

Same old Google.

Hulu Reworks Its Script as Digital Change Hits TV – WSJ.com

The free online television service has become one of the most-watched online video properties in the U.S. and a top earner of web-video ad dollars since its 2008 launch.

WSJ’s Sam Schechner reports on Hulu re-tooling its business plan to keep up with a changing digital world.

But its owners—industry powerhouses NBC Universal, News Corp. and Walt Disney Co.—are increasingly at odds over Hulu’s business model. Worried that free Web versions of their biggest TV shows are eating into their traditional business, the owners disagree among themselves, and with Hulu management, on how much of their content should be free.

Fox Broadcasting owner News Corp. and ABC owner Disney are contemplating pulling some free content from Hulu, say people familiar with the matter. The media companies are also moving to sell more programs to Hulu competitors that deliver television over the Internet, including Netflix Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc.

I had my worries about Hulu from the start, mostly because it was owned by a network (NBC). Never underestimate the power of a network executive to screw the customers.

In all seriousness, though, I think it was an unfair advantage, owning a significant chunk of content that you could then hold back from other competing services.

Two things that surprised me about Hulu’s success: First, the fact that people were willing to watch TV on their computer screens only. (When introduced, Hulu was strictly computer-only—there was no TV streaming option of any kind.) This continues to boggle my mind. The idea that you have a 42″ plasma tv in the living room, but you’re going to watch shows on a 15″ laptop with crappy speakers. Where’s the logic in that?

Second, the fact that it was ad-sponsored. The ads surprised me because I honestly thought people would not want to sit through ads anymore. (This was supposed to be a re-invention of TV, not a rehash of the old system.) Certainly, a dollar or two per episode was a better option than sitting though boring ads, right?

More importantly, I thought there was no way the ads on an Internet service would come close to making up for the difference in ad revenue on network television. In other words, as more people flocked to Hulu and ditched their traditional Cable TV viewing, the networks were going to lose money and figure out that web ads weren’t enough. Web ads are literally worth pennies vs. TV’s six-figure ad buys. The business model was not sustainable long-term.

That second part seems to be coming true. (Admittedly, I was wrong about the first. People really are freetards, when you get right down to it.) So now millions of Hulu users are going to be bait-and-switched into some new version of the service that costs them in some way. I wonder if they’ll be smart enough to revolt, or if they’ll just start coughing up the cash to feed their addiction?

I’m sure NBC will find some way to make the service completely unusable for everyone.

Microsoft TV – Another box running Windows (because that’s worked so well in the past)

Microsoft will reportedly announce a new Windows-based $200 set-top box using Windows Media Center as its primary interface, according to the
Seattle Times
. The company, which has been trying to put a Windows box in living rooms for more than 10 years with little success, is expected to make the announcement during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

I can’t believe that Microsoft’s strategy this year is going to be a box running Windows. Again.

When is someone going to fire Ballmer?

And the comparison here shouldn’t be Microsoft TV vs. Google TV. Both products are DOA. The set-top box battle is closer to Roku vs. Apple TV, but even in that case it’s way too early for anyone to have full success with this kind of product.

Jobs wasn’t wrong when he said that this category is never going to be a blockbuster market until someone kills the cable companies. That’s not going to be easy. And whoever does it is either going to have to partner with or buy Netflix.

Google TV in the Bargain basement bin

Sony’s price slashing promotion for its new Blu-Ray Google TV appliance indicates additional trouble for the Android-based device, following a content blockade imposed by television broadcasters, a rash of unenthusiastic reviews, and the fragmentation issues endemic to Android.

Sony announced a promotional $100 price cut on its $399 Google TV device, an unusually deep discount for a brand new product, especially for Sony. While the company offered a variety of Black Friday discounts on other Blu-Ray products, none approached the 25 percent off fire sale of its new Google TV box.

Sony’s combination Blu-Ray and Google TV device was just introduced last month, making the slashed price an indication that the devices weren’t garnering much attention despite the media attention focused on Google TV and its use of Android. As TechCrunch observed, “this doesn’t look so well for Google’s living room takeover plans.”

Funny, I don’t see many deep discounts on AppleTVs this year.

With the shift internally to the YouTube Division, the TV networks blocking almost all content, and now this steep discount, I’d say it’s just about time to add Google TV to the list of Google’s recent failures. Here’s the list, for those keeping score:

Nexus One

Wave

Buzz

Google TV

Hard to imagine any other company of this size making that many high profile mistakes in such a short span of time.

Google moves Google TV to YouTube Division

Google Inc. is shifting its troubled Google TV initiative to its YouTube division, The Chronicle has learned.

Some industry sources speculated that the move was a response to the surprisingly negative reaction to the new Internet television service among major media companies.

The Mountain View company declined to discuss the relocation of Google TV, but when asked, a spokesman said YouTube has realigned its content partnership efforts.

“Just like any rapidly growing organization, it is important for YouTube to evolve and grow in order to ensure future success,” he said.

Wow, that was quick. I’d say it’s still too early to tell if Google TV is definitely a failure, but this isn’t a good sign.

What’s more striking to me is that Google is making this move seemingly as a reaction to getting blocked by the networks. As if they didn’t expect that to happen. That’s either incredibly arrogant, or incredibly naive. Neither of which is good for Google’s stockholders.

And come to think of it, shouldn’t Google TV have fallen into the YouTube division in the first place?

So will Google TV join the ranks of the Nexus One, Wave, and Buzz as yet another in a long list of failed Google projects just in the past year? Again, I’d say let’s wait and see. It really has only been a few weeks since the thing was launched, after all. But internal moves within Google are most definitely not a sign that Google likes its own chances.