Connected TV Watch Service
Sony has been marketing a Google TV Box in France since end-September, providing access to Web content, music & video entertainment and apps on its TV sets. This bid follows the first launches mid-year in the USA and roll-outs in the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Germany.
Google TV is adopting an original stance with a value proposition that focuses on Internet access and applications (few still available for TV) on the television set, within what is heralded as a seamless interface. Yet early feedback from the USA seems rather ambivalent on this latter point.
In terms of entertainment services, and despite the combined content offered by Google and Sony, the resistance of TV channels to give access to their content could be a burden. Unfortunately for Google, it cannot fully lean on its basic DNA, that of being a search engine, for exploitation on all video streams. Web/TV content indexing (linear or not) in unison with a transverse search engine would indeed change our consumption patterns. This is rather the revolution that is now anticipated, although such change does not depend on Google alone. Google TV's open approach is both its strength and its weakness. By nudging open the door to a world of convergence and unprecedented modes of consumption, it is also, for these very same reasons, warding off content rights holders.
Costing 200 EUR, twice as much as Apple TV and more within the price range of the XBOX 360 or PS3 game consoles, Google TV's current value proposition will be a real challenge to overcome, particularly in France where more than 10 million households subscribe to digital cable and IPTV.
Consumers will be the frontline judges, either endorsing or not endorsing Google's promise to deliver a revolutionary and user-friendly browsing system. This wide-scale endorsement will either open or close future windows of opportunity for incorporating TV channel content in the service, and even opportunities for forming integration partnerships with triple-play operators. This is where the future market really lies.
Head of the Video distribution practice
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