Tech's TV takeover: Why Hollywood should embrace Silicon Valley, not fight it

Tech's TV takeover: Why Hollywood should embrace Silicon Valley, not fight it

Summary: Hollywood seems a bit nervous about the tech industry's sudden interest in television - but instead of fighting it the way the music and news industries did, TV execs would be better off finding a way to embrace and help shape the inevitable transformation.

SHARE:
6

One of the buzz topics this week has been Google TV, a product that's not even available to consumers yet but already has news outlets issuing the warning call that technology is on the verge of doing to TV what it's already done to the music, news and movie industries.

Some might say that technology has ruined those other industries while others might say that the influences of tech have made them better. In terms of TV, it's hard to say what will happen. But when I see "quality" television programming like The Bachelor (How many times can someone say "I Love You" for 10 different camera shots and still sound sincere about it?), I certainly hope Google TV can make the programming better.

Actually, making television better isn't the goal for Google. It doesn't own Hollywood studios or employ actors. What Google is trying to do is make the television experience better for the viewers, to give them a place where they can simultaneously search traditional TV, as well as online video sites, from the big screen in the living room.

Also: Google, Apple, Netflix are among those trying to shape 21st Century TV

It makes sense that the content owners, the networks, the Hollywood distributors, the advertisers and anyone else who has their fingers in the television money pot would be a little nervous about Google's plan, especially since the search-and-advertising giant from Silicon Valley has said very little about its plans for monetizing Google TV.

Clearly, advertising - at some point - becomes an important piece of the business puzzle.

But to hear the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times tell the story, you'd think that big bad Silicon Valley is done chewing on the music and news media industries and now has its sights set on taking over television.

But let's take another look, this time wearing the glass-half-full glasses. The television industry is in a unique situation because, hopefully, it saw first-hand what happened to those other industries when they resisted the wave of technology that was headed straight at them. They held their breath, put up their fists and hoped that the technology influence would pass them by without leaving them bruised and scarred.

No such luck. Technology - from software to hardware to the Internet itself - took the music and news media industries by storm. (And, no, the tech industry isn't done with them yet.)

The moral of the story: technology will come in and poach its way into your industry. (In fact, that's already happening.) You can fight it if you'd like, but take a lesson from your buddies in the music and news game. Fighting tech is a losing battle.

Instead, the television industry should take this early opportunity to embrace technology, to walk hand-in-hand with Google to enhance the experiences for viewers so that the television programming offers more value for the viewer and the advertiser. We're early in the game, so early that Google still says (if you believe them) that they don't have an advertising plan yet.

If that's true, the TV industry needs to get in front of the change, to help shape it and to be a vocal partner who comes up with ideas on business strategies. And come up with some better programming already. If you really want to hang on to your viewers, give them some real entertainment - not that reality crap that's anything but realistic.

I know. I know. Millions of people - my wife and daughter included - are mesmerized by shows like The Bachelor. But nothing will send me to an online video site faster than walking into the living room and seeing an intimate candlelight dinner between some guy, one of his many potential brides and a camera crew. (Yes, people, there is a crew there with them.)

And my wife wonders why I watch old episodes of South Park on the Internet.

Related coverage:

Topics: Google, Hardware, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

6 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Camera crew reality

    [i]And my wife wonders why I watch old episodes of South Park on the Internet.[/i]

    lol there's hope for us all yet. :p
    klumper
  • Hollywood and Google - not a good marriage

    Aside from advertising, what would be the incentive for hollywood working with Google, and embracing GoogleTV? What's the business model? <br><br>If Hollywood is going to embrace this technology, I doubt it will be with Google. I love Google but let's be honest. This company's philosophy is all about free and open, a total opposite from the dinosaurs in hollywood. Google basically gives the candies away to the kids in exchange for ones personal data (or soul), for advertising. Hollywood and networks are interested in sustaining value in the content they offer, not giving it away for free or dirt cheap (devaluing it). They're totally opposite. Would be interesting to see how far they get with these talks.<br><br>Just take a look at the Android platform and you see a user base that's accustomed to getting everything for free, and not wanting to pay. Google doesn't seem to care that close to 60% of their Apps are free vs 28% in the Apple Store. As a result, developers are not making much compared to developers in Apple's App store. The business model is not as strong as it is for Apple where users are more than willing to pay for apps and content. <br><br>I agree hollywood need's to embrace change, I just don't think Google's the one to convince them here.
    dave95.
    • Re-examine your scenario

      @dave95.

      Nobody is crying for Hollywood. Nobody likes Hollywood. Hollywood hates Hollywood. Californication is one of only a handful of decent shows, and it spends the entire time picking apart the wasteful narcissistic culture of Hollywood. Hollywood is not capitalism. It is elitist merchantilism cramming garbage down the consumer's throats. Capitalism is when Google or someone else innovates to provide superior content through a superior distribution model to more people for less.

      Google Apps devs don't have to pay for access to the market and can place their own advertising. Therefore, one can't simply look at the revenue from the app stores and say you know the comparative revenue.

      Second, established software is just starting come over to the Android market. I will probably pay for Trillian for android when it comes out.
      tkejlboom
  • RE: Tech's TV takeover: Why Hollywood should embrace Silicon Valley, not fight it

    How about the Roku model? ABC, NBC, CBS, TNT, ION, etc could make a channel on the Roku box today if they wanted. There are subscription channels already (Netflix) and VOD (Amazon). One of the great things about streaming is you can actually see how many people are watching your channel/show. OTA and cable is just a guess at the number of viewers.
    BoloMKXXVIII
  • RE: Tech's TV takeover: Why Hollywood should embrace Silicon Valley, not fight it

    you can watch southpark on the internet? OMG
    KineticArtist
  • RE: Tech's TV takeover: Why Hollywood should embrace Silicon Valley, not fight it

    "What Google is trying to do is make the television experience better for the viewers, to give them a place where they can simultaneously search traditional TV, as well as online video sites, from the big screen in the living room."

    Already have this, is called a computer running Media Centre or equivalent
    Mytheroo