With broadcasters seeking payment for allowing their programming to be viewed through the new Google TV Internet-connected platform, a Google executive last week said the attempt represents a “misunderstanding” by the TV industry of what Google is trying to do.
ABC, CBS and NBC have blocked full episodes of their shows from being accessed through Google TV’s browser since the product became available last month. They are demanding payment for their programming.
Rishi Chandra, Google TV’s lead product manager, compared the broadcasters’ payment requests to a network demanding fees from Microsoft so video would work on its Internet Explorer browser.
Speaking at a Streaming Media West conference in Los Angeles, Chandra said Google TV is meant to supplement the cable and broadcast TV business model by adding access to the Internet. A smart TV platform based on the Android operating system, Google TV instantly searches the Internet and TV for content using a search bar.
HBO, TBS, TNT, CNN and the Cartoon Network were among the first channels to cooperate with Google TV. However, the networks have resisted. Some analysts have said the broadcasters’ blockade is intended to discourage people from canceling their monthly subscriptions with cable and satellite TV service providers by eliminating the option of watching online episodes for free on their Internet-connected televisions.
Chandra said Google TV will not pay for access to online shows, although YouTube — a Google subsidiary — could extend its advertising revenue-share model to the living room.
“The way we would pay for content is through a similar mechanism that we pay for content through YouTube,” Chandra told the Associated Press. “This is the difference between Google TV and YouTube. YouTube is a service. Google TV itself is literally just a platform.”
Chandra also said Google TV is preparing to provide access to Hulu Plus, the $10-per-month online video subscription plan that allows users to access the back episodes of many current TV shows from News Corp.’s Fox, NBC Universal and The Walt Disney Co.’s ABC, such as “Glee,” “30 Rock” and “Modern Family.”
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