Google has unveiled the first set of content partners who will provide content for its forthcoming Google TV platform that aims to bring the Internet and traditional television together in the comfort of consumers’ living rooms. And while the initial lineup of partners for the service includes many big names—among them Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, HBO, CNBC, and Twitter—it’s perhaps more notable who is not on the list: no major U.S. broadcast networks. The likes of Fox, CBS, ABC, and NBC have opted not to participate in Google TV…at least for the time being.
“Since our announcement, we’ve been overwhelmed by interest from partners on how they can use the Google TV platform to personalize, monetize, and distribute their content in new ways,” wrote Google TV developer product manager Ambarish Kenghe in the Google TV blog. “Most of these partner sites already work with Google TV, but many are choosing to further enhance their premium web content for viewing on the television.”
Among the major content producers on board with Google TV are HBO, which will offer “authenticated subscribers” on-demand access to HBO’s content via an enhanced Web site designed for Google TV. NBC Universal—now majority-owned by Comcast—will be producing a CNBC Real-Time app for Google TV enabling users to keep on top of financial and stock news. The National Basketball Association is contributing an app that offers high-definition game highlights and real-time scores, and Turner Broadcasting is optimizing their “most popular Web sites” for viewing on Google TV, including services like CNN, Cartoon Network, TBS, and TNT.
Google isn’t going it alone with these partners, however: The New York Times and USA Today are also on board as news sites, and Google TV will be able to tap into music services like Pandora, VEVO, and Napster, online networks like blip.tv, and (of course) Twitter.
Although content partners are one measure of how consumers might response to Google TV, some industry watchers note that the magic trick of Google TV may not be so much in offering content as in creating a successful marriage of television and the Web. Google TV aims to one-up existing Internet-enabled television add-ons by enabling users to seamlessly search for information or interact with their Web-based social networks while watching TV. And, of course, television is still the largest market for advertisers in the United States—and Google would dearly like to tap into that revenue stream.
Consumer electronics with Google TV capability should become available in the coming weeks; first out the door will likely be Blu-ray players and high-definition televisions from Sony with Google TV capability built in, along with the Logitech Revue, a set-top box designed to integrate Google TV with existing television setups.