[credit provider=”MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival” url=”http://youtu.be/hSzEFsfc9Ao”]
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt gave a lecture to the U.K. TV industry in Scotland last week, and his basic message was adapt or die.Here are some key points, drawn from the transcript:
- TV will get more social. “Adding a social layer to TV shows will increase. Among Google Plus’s coolest features are group video chats called “Hangouts”. Watching YouTube videos in Hangouts is like being in the same room….A social layer is something viewers — or at least a substantial number — clearly want. It’s also great for broadcasters. Trending hashtags raise awareness of shows, helping boost ratings. It can be metric for viewer engagement, a vehicle for instant feedback, a channel for reaching people outside broadcast times.”
- Video is going mobile. “Two hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute from mobile devices. Soon, your typical Internet user won’t be indoors with a PC; they’ll be out and about on their cell phone.”
- Google TV is not about competing with the content industry. “Google TV is a case in point. When it launched, some in the US feared we aimed to compete with broadcasters or content creators. Actually our intent is the opposite.We seek to support the content industry by providing an open platform for the next generation of TV to evolve, the same way Android is an open platform for the next generation of mobile. Just as smartphones sparked a whole new era of innovation for the Internet, we hope Google TV can help do the same for television, creating more value for all.”
(Comment: Android may have started off as an open platform, but Google has slowly added restrictions on both the flow of information about Android and the way Android may be used on “approved” phones. If Google holds on to Motorola’s phone business — and there’s every reason to believe it will — it will be hard to imagine Google treating other Android phone resellers equally. TV folks take note.)
- Google does NOT want all content to be free. “We’re agnostic when it comes to whether free or paid content models are best. It’s up to content owners to decide if they want to charge, and it’s up to users to decide if they want to pay. All we want is for content to be accessible to as many people as possible, but that does not mean it has to be free. This isn’t just rhetoric. We’ve built a range of tools to help businesses control and earn money from their content online. Earlier this year we launched One Pass, a tool that helps publishers erect a paywall for their content. We’re experimenting with pay-per-view and other transactional models on YouTube, such as ‘click to buy’ links. And of course, Google advertising is the ultimate tool for content owners to monetise their work.
- Google will not make TV. “Some have suggested Google should invest directly in TV content. To argue that misunderstands a key point: Google is a technology company. We provide platforms for people to engage with content and, through automated software, we show ads next to content that owners have chosen to put up. But we have neither the ambition nor the know-how to actually produce content on a large scale. Trust me, if you gave people at Google free rein to produce TV you’d end up with a lot of bad sci-fi! But of course we are helping to fund content.”
That said, reports suggest that Google is definitely interested in building — and funding — new sources of original content for YouTube. That’s a little different than owning its own TV studio, but the end result is the same — Google is contributing to the creation of new video content.
In other words, Google is part of the digital revolution that is remaking video. The TV industry can come along or sit back and be marginalized.
Check out the full transcript, or watch the video below — Schmidt’s speech starts around 36:00.