Google TV finally has a significant deal in its long struggle to break into TV advertising. NBC U (GE) and Google (GOOG) jointly announced a pact for Google TV to sell ad inventory on some of NBC U’s cable networks, including Sci Fi, Oxygen, MSNBC, CNBC, Sleuth, and Chiller, with the opportunity to add additional networks in the coming months.
It’s the first major expansion for Google TV in more than a year. Until now, it had been trying to build a national platform for TV ad sales with limited ad inventory from EchoStar’s Dish Network (DISH), a deal it signed in the spring of 2007. Google TV execs have been talking about imminent deals with cable networks since last fall, but none materialised until now.
This one makes some sense: Michael Stieb, director of Google TV, is a former NBC U exec, who launched the now-defunct NBBC, was the initial technological platform for Hulu.
Signing individual cable networks appears to be the only way forward for Google; its efforts to sign other cable or satellite operators have so far been futile. The WSJ reports that talks Google couldn’t agree to terms with DirecTV (DTV), and talks with Verizon Communications (VZ) are in early stages.
Meanwhile, the nation’s largest cable operators, including Comcast (CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (TWC), Charter (CHTR) and Cox have banded together to form Canoe Ventures, a national ad platform they see as a competitor to Google TV. And Microsoft (MSFT) made a significant move into the market with the purchase of Navic Systems in June.
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