If you want to stream full episodes of “Glee” or “the Simpsons,” you won’t be able to do it through Google TV. That’s because News Corp.-owned Fox has now decided that it won’t allow Google TV viewers to stream its online content. Fox had originally delayed the decision whether or not to permit access to its content even as rival networks CBS, ABC, and NBC were quick to shut the door on Google TV users. The first wave of Google TV products his stores last month with offerings from Sony and Logitech.
Fox’s decision unifies all major broadcast networks against Google’s Web-meets-TV project. Concerns over lost ad revenues – TV ads tend to be more profitable than online ads – are more than likely to be the primary motivator behind the networks’ decision. If the networks do eventually allow their content to be streamed, it’s likely to occur after Google has agreed to a licensing deal that would see the networks being compensated for allowing their content to be viewed through Google TVs.
It’s also probable that networks see this as an opportunity to express displeasure over seeing their copyrighted material appearing in Google search results. It’s well known that Google’s Internet search service can be used to find illegitimate TV shows and movies via torrent sites and other off-shore websites that host pirated material. Networks likely would want Google to filter out websites that infringe on copyrights before they were comfortable providing easy access through their own websites.
Fox’s decision means that the networks now have the upper-hand over Google’s TV effort and the company might now be forced to sit down and hash out a distribution deal that would appeal to the networks. After all, the idea of streaming TV episodes through an actual TV on demand and for free is potentially a big draw for consumers and Google is likely to want to remedy the situation as soon as possible. Of course, Fox’s – as well as the other three network’s – online content is still freely available online to viewers using a traditional laptop of PC setup.
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