Google TV struggles to get content partners for smart-TV play

The clock is ticking for Google TV to line up content partners by the time it's set to launch its smart TV play this fall, and it's finding the going tougher than it might have anticipated as TV networks worry that Google might erode their audience, and content providers fret that Google has yet to come up with a business model that will compensate them fairly.

Google, which is partnering with Sony and Logitech on the smart TV platform, wants to make it possible for users to easily search for, and watch, any video content that exists on the Internet, as well as listing times and on what channels a TV episode might be appearing.

The Wall Street Journal says that Google has met with executives from ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS in an effort to have them provide copious amounts of data about their content, making search easier and more productive. They've also asked the networks to post higher-quality video that would be playable on larger screens. But, says the paper, executives have balked at acceding to Google's requests, worrying that to do so would lead to them losing their content among a flood of video clips and pirated video.

While network execs and content owners have been hesitant to cooperate with Google, a Google TV that could help them provide targeted advertising to consumers has ad executives licking their chops.

"Google is going to revolutionize the way we use media," Shattuck Groome, president of New York ad agency Gotham Direct Interactive, which buys TV ads for brands that include M&M's candy and Zappos.com, told BusinessWeek. "It's the future of advertising."

Google TV will give advertisers the ability to place ads precisely where they want them, using more finely targeted demographics, and then only pay for ads that were actually viewed. Plus, it'll tell advertisers how many viewers actually interacted with it, by clicking on an ad to request more information, for example.

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