Google (GOOG) gets another news-free feature in the trades on Google TV, its perpetually-nascent TV ad-buying system . One semi-newsworthy nugget: general manager Kevai Desai says Google TV “will announce a signficant deal in the next few weeks that will greatly expand its reach.”
We heard that back in November, too, but don’t remember anything coming from that. But let’s assume the ink is dry on this one and it will soon be announced. Here’s the problem with Google TV: it can’t be a player in TV ads unless cable, broadcast and the TV networks themselves give the system ad inventory to sell. The only significant distribution deal Google TV has in place is EchoStar’s Dish Network (DISH), with 14 million subscribers.
That deal was signed way back in May of 2007; since then, Google TV has been unable to convince another significant TV distributor to sign up. We’ll go out on a limb and guess that Google is about to sign Verizon’s FiOS, which would make sense given the search deal the two signed last week.
But it won’t be a game-changer for Google TV. The problem is no big player in the TV business wants Google to become the middleman in TV advertising. The biggest cable operators, Comcast (CMCSA), Time Warner (TWX), Cox, and Cablevision (CVC), are pouring money into their own system, Project Canoe, which doesn’t yet have an infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Microsoft (MSFT), via its Navic Systems, already has an infrastructure. Which means it has at least as good a chance of becoming a player in TV advertising as Google.
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