Fox Joins ABC, CBS & NBC In Blocking Google TV

Jonathan Sutton

Fox has joined other major American TV networks including CBS, NBC, and ABC in blocking Google TV. As things stand, all four networks will not grant Google TV access to shows they stream online on their own network or on approved partner sites.

Announced this past May and officially launched last month, Google TV is the latest innovation from Google which lets viewers consume traditional TV channels and newer web content including online videos seamlessly on their HDTV sets. Google TV was designed to deliver the television experience to which consumers are accustomed, while offering on-demand content related to YouTube, Amazon, Netflix, Pandora, and others. Running on the Android system, Google TV can be fully integrated with compatible smartphones: customers can download certain widget applications to their Google TV device, as well as use their mobile phones as remote control.

Already facing revenue issues related to on-demand content and the widespread use of PVRs/ DVRs (personal video recorders or digital video recorders) that allow viewers to bypass TV commercials, Fox and the other networks expressed further concerns over a loss in advertising earnings should their programmes be shown on Google TV, since online advertising revenue usually pales in comparison to that generated from more conventional broadcast advertisements. As a result, the four biggest television networks in the United States will not allow full episodes of their shows to air on Google TV.

Google executives are trying to play down the setback by citing the TV networks that currently have channels on Google TV, such as HBO, TNT and TBS, while explaining that it is understandable for the major networks to feel nervous about new technology.

Standard television advertising has become a delicate situation with recent advances in web technology and digital video recorders. This is not the first time online revenue has been a major foil in the television industry – it was one of the key issues in the WGA (Writers Guild of America) strike that stalled television and movie development back in 2007-2008.