back to article Google tells TV execs where they've gone wrong

With his opening keynote at iTV Con, a trade conference dedicated to, yes, internet television, Google’s head of boob tube technology Vincent Dureau told industry players and reporters that traditional television is pretty close to dead. Of course, he’s confident that the latest internet technologies can drive a new breed of TV …


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  1. Steve

    Er, right

    So, the "future of TV" actually means "the future of TV advertising"? This is as strong an argument in favour of the BBC's licensing model, and against the convergence of traditional TV and IP, that you'd ever care to read. A googol of channels, running content with negative googol value, each of which has targeted ads "we want to watch" - presumably because they'll have higher production values than the programmes themselves. Yuck.

  2. Andrew Moore

    A flaw...

    When I skip ads, I skip all the ads and don't go through each one looking for an ad I want to see.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If youtube, like metacafe put embedded adverts overlaid at the bottom of all videos screen width they have a market solution. You have the option to close them with an X but I found it wasn't too intrusive, of course I blocked all of metacafe videos but eventually I would have to give in.

    Rarely does TV show it's age but the advert break is one of them, embed/overlay/integrate your advert don't cordon it off.

  4. Pete

    Forget targeted ads...

    ...just for God's sake volume level the things. I purposely avoid ad breaks because the program is broadcast at a lower volume than the adverts and the annoying little tits that talk over the credits of programs. Is the idea that even if everyone walks into the kitchen THEY CAN STILL HEAR ABOUT NEW IMPROVED WASHING POWDER?

    Downloaded TV isn't just free, it's annoyance free. Plus the bright side for everyone in the UK is that US programs are out way before terrestrial viewers see them. It's still stupid that while movies can have simultaneous release dates, the smaller tv programs are treated like lent out video cassettes:

    US: "Here, I've finished watching this, give it a try"

    UK: "Sure, should I let France have it when I'm done?"

    US: "No problem, pass it around"

  5. Dillon Pyron

    Who gets what first? (Or is it who gets Who first?)

    We the States may get some shows first, the UK gets others. The US, for instance, sees the first half season of Stargate. The UK catches up, then passes us. You get Torchwood, we get spoilers.

  6. Brett Brennan

    On Target, Targeted Adverts

    It sounds like, from Cade's article, that the Google folks have the message on target.

    The "holy grail" of advertising is making the process a closed-loop that links an advert exposure to an actual sale (or non-sale). All the hype about "word of mouth" talking about an advert is advertising for the advertising industry, not a product.

    The toughest part is getting the relationship between an advert and a sale. This is something that the web does pretty effectively: a click-through that results in a sale is pretty hard to argue with.

    Google has done a superlative job in monetizing this advertising process. Not perfect, but it demonstrates a good step into the next generation of advertising, where contextual positioning increases the sale potential over untargeted adverts. The next "logical" step is to provide tools to further refine the delivery parameters for the target - including opt-in data from potential customers - to increase the probability of a sale.

    The "old guard" of "traditional" media are indeed facing loss of their primary revenue stream as blanket advertising becomes less and less relevant. Google is absolutely on target in their argument that a convergence technology device is needed to turn this position around, to return enough relevance to advertising around program content to get people to watch the adverts and make purchases. Old media has missed several opportunities to include closed-loop feedback into the media technology: HD-TV, HD-radio, even the DSB programming has had the potential for this for several years, but has not fully implemented it. Google is offering - for compensation, of course - to help old media to exploit these new technologies before old media becomes "dead" media.

    Oh, one other comment, about something most of us overlook. Advertising servers an important purpose: it provides education and information about products that we may not know about but may have an interest in acquiring. Because advertising has permeated our lives so thoroughly we rarely stop to consider how much we actually use this information, almost subconsciously, to assist us in doing "consumer research" and making purchases. Our biggest complaint about traditional advertising is that it is so often totally irrelevant to us and repetitive that we forget that we have gotten some useful information out of it. Implementing relevant, targeted advertising in smaller amounts and coupling compensation of media to actual sales would return advertising to its rightful place as a useful source of information for us, the consumer.

  7. Corrine


    Of course, I have to sit here in the US, waiting for you brits to finally send me decent TV shows.

    And I know you're probably not part of the BBC or anything, but could you *please* get just a tiny bit less reality TV on BBCA? It's horrendus how infested that channel has gotten. Bring back the bad comedy shows.

    </completely off topic post>

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: A flaw...

    I go further and download shows that are being broadcast precisely so that I don't have to put up with ads or some TV execs scheduling plans. I also have cable so if something is going to be available Virgin's on demand service then I'll watch it a day later and avoid the adverts.The marketeers seem to be forgeting that they are not normal people and that no-one in the real world views their work as anything more than an annoyance.

    They are the ants at the TV picnic.

  9. Mark SPLINTER

    Advertising is educational?

    Brett said some interesting stuff and then made me puke :)

    "Advertising servers an important purpose: it provides education and information about products that we may not know about but may have an interest in acquiring."

    This should read "Advertising serves no purpose at all: it provides lies and irritation about products that we don't need but are vulnerable to being conned into acquiring"

    If there was no "push" advertising at all, only useful products would be sold, by word of mouth and people actually searching for stuff instead of having it thrust in their face alongside a pair of tits.

    Advertising distorts the market, giving propaganda mind control powers to those who can afford it. Look at where we end up, how many products actually are useful or do what they claim?

    Vanity demand is being supplied with everything it needs, that is all. People say they get what they want, because adverts told them what to want. Myself included (I am not being patronising here). Unfortunately, useful stuff can be harder to sell when competing with a billion "Things taste better with Coke" messages.

    So now you will tell me that google will read my mind and only show me adverts i like so there is no problem. Ha ha ha. What a circular argument. Anyway, google should know I want NO ADS AT ALL and how can they possible satisfy that?

    btw, i call ads "messages paid for that wouldn't be there without the money" e.g. Sprite sponsoring a hiphop event. I don't mean that nobody should be able to talk about products, i just mean the ad is not the message. I'm with Steve, above. The problem with ads is they get in your face, they suck, they are parasitic. Solve that problem instead of trying to deliver more "targeted" shit around stuff I actually want. I really would rather that you did not learn enough about me to "target" me like that.

    lol @ luxury lexus hybrid car ad. what would we do without luxury lexus hybrid cars eh? let's find a way to shore up that industry!

  10. George

    Re Embedded

    TV already embeds ads - look at their channel logos which are permanently on. and their ads over the credits. If they embed more it will only distract from the content - content is king. I want to watch CONTENT not a channel and do not want to be distracted from it or have it ruined by a rebd button/channel logo/ad/message/trailer/what's on next/sponsorship message etc. The day real ads are embedded will be the day I move to watch everything on DVD.

  11. gaz


    argh no - it annoys me having the channel logo on the screen..

  12. Mike Silver badge

    Re Embedded


    The day real ads are embedded will be the day I move to watch everything on DVD.

    Don't know where you get your DVDs, or how old they are, but the ad for "we will send you to prison if you invite your neighbors over to watch this movie with you" has been un-skippable for years, and new, more traditional ads, also unskippable on many disks, are being added. I sometimes think the main reason for HD is to allow them to wrap a whole series of ads around the edges of a standard-res movie. :-)

  13. Marco

    Re: On Target, Targeted Adverts

    "Advertising servers an important purpose: it provides education and information about products that we may not know about but may have an interest in acquiring. Because advertising has permeated our lives so thoroughly we rarely stop to consider how much we actually use this information, almost subconsciously, to assist us in doing "consumer research" and making purchases."

    What? Advertisement is not done to inform us about something we need, but to make us -feel- we need it.

    I have almost completely given up on watching commercial television and my browser is set to block just about every ad out there. And I still come to my purchasing decisions and find out about new products.

    My message to Google is: I want no advertisements at all - how are you gonna advertise me that?

  14. Azrael

    ...And this is why I pirate my tv shows

    We bought a house. (yay us!) The owner, when showing us around, apologetically told us there is no TV aerial. Neither of us cared. For years we haven't watched any free to air tv. My time is valuable enough that I'd rather pay for the DVD set, and watch tv when it's convenient to me. No adverts, and when I have an evening off I can watch four episodes, then go two or three weeks without watching anything. Then pass on the DVDs to my friends, and borrow theirs. The industry is still getting money from me (probably more money, now) and the good shows are being rewarded, instead of the prime-time-shows that happen to be on.

    It's a good theory. Except when it doesn't work. Not watching TV, I don't know what the good shows are. Having handed over hundred(s) of dollars for a series or two, and found them to be utter crap, I can be a bit gun-shy about giving new shows a try. That's where the internet comes in. Despite being Australian, I tend to like british shows, so I occasionally browse through the BBC website, and read about whatever is showing over there, then use good old bittorrent. If the show is good, available here, and reasonably priced, I'll happily put down my money for season 2. My girlfriend likes having "complete sets" so usually buys season 1 as well... which sits in plastic wrap on the shelf.

    Hmm, still a good theory... but I said there are times it doesn't work, didn't I? Well... it bugs me when I put a disk in, then walk to the kitchen to get myself food. Eat the food. Wander back in. And about that time the menu is appearing. I don't want to sit through their "don't pirate movies" spiel. All that does is makes me think "if this was a pirated DVD, I'd already be watching the show". I don't want the unskippable menus. I don't want to watch the advert for the stargate computer game on *every single disk* as I'm watching the series. Sheesh! Show it to me on disk 1, then give me a free pass for the rest! - so, by doing the right thing and handing over my money, I am being *inconvenienced*! Why? I could sit at my computer, schedule the season worth of episodes to download. Sure, it takes a few days, but I can queue up enough of what I want to watch, and I go weeks between watching anything. In terms of effort and inconvenience, downloading my tv and movies is pretty close to zero. It's a lot less effort than going out to the shops to buy the dvd, and that's before I even consider the cost. Then you add the forced adverts on the disks that I've already paid for. Oh. And that's assuming that it's even been released here in Australia. I've spent weeks asking different stores if they have a particular show, asking if they can order it in, until I got fed up, downloaded it, and started watching that evening.

    So it comes to a very simple choice for me. Do I want to pay my money for inconvenience, with the (small) moral benefit of feeling like I'm supporting the industry and the shows I like? Or do I want to get on with whatever I want to do, and have the shows appear there, with little to no effort on my part, and no annoying adverts?

    Every time I hand over my money I feel *bad* about it. And I'm reminded of that, every time I sit there trying to skip to the starting menu. Before worrying about money from adverts, try making the things that we pay for *at least as convenient as what we can get for free!* - threatening jail doesn't help. Be positive. Let me pay to download my dvd, if I don't want to go to the shops. Let me *choose* if I want to watch the adverts on the dvd, or put them after the show. Or at least let me skip them if I hit the button. Let me skip to the starting menu unless there's a *very* good reason why I need to see it. Get the DVDs into the shops *before* they are aired on tv. Basically, give me the convenience that I have when I download an avi. I'll pay my money, if you do that. I have no objection to paying for what I get, I only have an objection to being "punished" or inconvenienced when I do the right thing, and pay.

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