Google’s ‘leanback’ will start in July/ Hulu on the playstation – the battle for the TV audience!


When I wrote my article   about the changes in the broadcast market just four weeks ago ,  and that companies will be the TV networks of the future, I could not know that this vision will come reality so fast. After conversations with managers of Hulu and Google last week, I learned that things are already moving.

Hulu is in talks with Sony to become a partner for the playstation. With this collaboration Hulu gets a foot into the television market and can offer its free online video service with hit TV shows including Family Guy and 30 Rock not only through the internet but directly through TV devices. Google TV is working on its new service “leanback”, which they want to start already in July. 

Screenshot Google TV Leanback

YouTube LeanBack Interface

Lean Back will create personalized feeds that will be based on a users’ interests. A screen shot of the service shows quick-jump categories for things like My Rentals, Comedy, My Feed, and much more. There is also a video rental option included, which we already know from products like Apple TV. It is currently unclear if Google TV will work with any internet equipped TV or only those with the Google TV software built in. Users will be able to customize their YouTube viewing online before porting the feed over to their TV. An online version of Lean Back is also expected, and a lot more information is expected to filter out over the coming months before the launch about the service. This YouTube Leanback channel is generated by personal subscriptions or preferences, and requires no browsing because videos will have already been chosen for users before they log on.

It goes without any question, that this development will be the first step of companies like Google and Hulu to really start the competition with television networks. This not only in regional markets but globally. Therefore it is understandable, that companies like CBS and FOX are already in talks with Google as well, to promote their expensive high quality content through the new platforms. The trick might be, that this also opens the door for new revenue models. In the future Google TV and Hulu might charge for high quality content through a monthly subscription model. Television series and shows can be delivered to much broader audiences around the world. With the subtitling techniques, shows could also being watched by audiences in other countries – content gets a global reach. This changes the advertising marktet as well and opens new chances for marketing strategies and global campaigns. Big events like the FIFA soccer worldcup could run on Google TV next time, which would bring much better global visibility for the adertising partners. With the subscription fees, there would exist an additional revenue stream. Even if pay TV was not yet succesful especially in Europe, this new development might open the market.  Ths is also backed by the newest figures of the US market researcher Comscore, which were just announced this week.

Almost 85% of the US internet users are watching videos in the world wide web.  Market leader is still youtube. The Google company achieved a new record with 15 billion video-views and 183 million visitors only in May 2010. This means an average of more than 100 video-views per day per visitor –  every day 2 billion videos are watched on youtube. This means a market share of 43% for YouTube, Hulu is far behind with only 3,5% market share, followed by Microsoft (1,9 %) and Vevo (1,3 %).

Some market and technical background aboout Google TV: In the US, Google has teamed up with Best Buy to be the exclusive distributer of the Google TV box.  The Intel processor, Atom, will be utilized in the product because of its leading capability to handle video online, and its compatibility with HD products that are already in common use today.  Sony will be constructing TVs that are designed specifically to integrate with Google TV, and Logitech will be the company that constructs the box itself.

Google TV Box:

Google TV Box

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2 Comments

Filed under Google TV, TV market trends

2 responses to “Google’s ‘leanback’ will start in July/ Hulu on the playstation – the battle for the TV audience!

  1. Mathis S.

    YouTube Leanback has just been launched. http://www.youtube.com/leanback

  2. Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your home. ~David Frost

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