Opposition to Google TV Swells with FOX, Syfy, Hulu Closing Down Access

Rupert Murdoch has apparently decided that he doesn’t like Google TV any more than his broadcast brethren. News Corp.'s FOX has joined the ranks of ABC, CBS and NBC in blocking access to full episodes of its shows via Google TV's Web browser. The networks are asking for remuneration to stream programming from their content Websites.

Meanwhile, NBC-owned cable channel Syfy has started to block Google TV access to its online presence, and Hulu.com has now closed down the Fancast.com “back door” that Google was using to deliver Hulu content to Comcast subscribers.

The broadcaster opposition is somewhat ironic considering that consumers can access the blocked content for free from most browser-enabled mobile devices and any computer. Google TV however is an Android-based platform that is embedded within a Sony television set, and therein lies the rub: offering programming from these Websites as a large-screen living room experience is uncomfortably cannibalising to traditional broadcast media, as far as the networks are concerned.

They would rather that viewers tap into traditional linear programming or pay-TV-sponsored VOD in the living room, for obvious reasons: traditional broadcast is commands better advertising CPM than its Web counterparts, and is a higher-margin service. Broadcasters are also concerned about Google TV returning results for pirated content.

Google insists that its platform is simply misunderstood and has tried to assure broadcasters that Google TV presents an opportunity, not a competitive issue. Its goal is to enhance the cable experience rather than take away from it, Google execs say.

That may be, but the heavy hitters in the content community aren’t buying it. Because of their lack of support, Google TV primarily offers the same Web TV experience that its STB rivals do: Netflix, Amazon’s on-demand service, HBO GO for authenticated subscribers and access to a variety of Web-only properties, like Pandora, VEVO and the like.

To be fair, some broadcasters are still open to Google TV, like the Lifetime Channel, TBS, TNT, the CW, CNN, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. Also, Hulu and Google are also in talks to bring the Hulu Plus subscription service to Google TV.

By Michelle Clancy, Rapid TV News