Currently, TV stations have to renew their broadcast license every few years. I say that once a suitably fair arbitration system is in place, their licenses would have to be renewed on an annual basis. Furthermore, any blackout unilaterally imposed by a TV station or network outside of the arbitration process would be immediate and irreversible cause for that station or network’s license to be revoked, and put on the block for others to apply for.
Turning to Google TV, it makes no sense why, at least for now, the major networks are blocking their content to Google TV devices like the Logitech Revue and the Sony Internet TV we’ve recently reviewed. While it’s no secret that some in the broadcast industry have no love for Google’s YouTube (Sumner Redstone of Viacom, for example, has been especially vociferous), with Google TV I can’t see any good reason why the networks would want to block their content, as the exact same content is freely available to anyone with a conventional PC.
If I want to watch an episode of Desperate Housewives on ABC’s site, I can do so with my desktop PC. I can do the same with my laptop and netbook. I can even use Google’s Chrome web browser if I want. But with a Google TV device, using that same Chrome browser, I’m locked out.
This is downright senseless, especially if Google TV takes off (which it very well might). ABC and other broadcasters will lose out on even more eyeballs—eyeballs they need in order to charge advertisers for the commercials they are airing along with the content on their sites. To me, this appears to be nothing more than corporate petulance, and which has no justifiable basis from a business standpoint. If Google TV becomes a popular platform for viewers to watch content from the Internet on their big screen TV, one would think that broadcasters such as ABC would want to welcome it with open arms.