Why Doesn’t CBS Allow Their Content on Google TV Devices?

Over the last couple weeks I’ve contacted CBS via their general email, asking why it is that they block Google TV users.  The same goes for many major networks, FOX, ABC, and now NBC (who until last week allowed Google TV users) for example.
I have cleaned-up any spelling mistakes, but otherwise left the messages unaltered.  Any changes are noted in [].


Why do you block videos from playing on Google TV? Why is the tv.com app not available? Why not create a leanback channel for smart tvs?

Thank you for your inquiry. Our product is designed to work on the standard PC format. While we have had reports of functionality, products such as GoogleTV, Apple TV, and Roku are not officially supported platforms. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

When do you see an app becoming available or your site allowing Google TV Chrome users?

The problem is that the Google TV is not a pc format. Not sure if this technology is going [to] be around long as it didn’t do so well in the market.

Discussion as to whether you want to be at the forefront of change and technology aside, I see two issues:

Web Viewing: There are many TV networks with sites that allow viewers to watch shows on them, you have to purposefully block platforms if you’re using a compatible technology (which you are).

Application: CBS Entertainment has a few Android Apps already, Google TV is Android based, so it would be very easy to allow it to be available for TV users in the Google Play Store.

Thank you for your inquiry. As always we thank you for your comments and concerns. We will forward this information on to the appropriate department for review. At this time this is something we do not support.

If I may theorize here (and feel free to pass this on), and this is honestly said with the utmost respect and sincerity: I think you guys are afraid.

I think that Google TV is seen is as a cord-cutting device, and you (CBS) is afraid of what that means to traditional revenue streams, primarily fees paid by cable and satellite companies. You don’t need to be afraid. Just like on your website you can have ads before, after, and during all your video content. You could also stream an unedited version of what is being broadcast right then (just pick a time zone to align the schedule to [it]). Now you’ve got more viewers for your existing advertisers, more viewers for your web advertisers, and the ability for a couple new revenue streams and branding. Also, online people can’t skip the ads like they do when recorded.

First the branding[:] Just like you have it online you can make your shows very “social” by allowing people to communicate with you and others online while enjoying an episode of their favorite show. It’ll be easy to gather feedback on what people like and what people don’t in specific shows (Should Leonard and Penny succeed in “trying again”? [The answer is “Yes”, they should].). People will very easily be able to direct others in [their] circle of influence to watch your content. You’ll be able to track your viewers pretty accurately by seeing how many people are viewing the pages at any given time. By having an engaged audience at this level you can really build loyalty.

Now for new revenue streams (in addition to all the web advertising and live advertising that will increase by making this move): It would all be about how many places can you put ads that people will see, but won’t find intrusive.

1. Interactive content: Have you seen what PBS has done? It is awesome. They have specific content that is inserted into a video that allows you to interact with objects on the screen (help Curious George clean-up the toys, for example). Insert a quiz after the second commercial break of CSI about “Who do you think did it?” and let them share the answer via social sites. This builds branding, and the quiz could be sponsored by someone (ad revenue, cha-ching).

2. Online Pilots: Launching a new show is expensive, outside or production you have to do A TON of marketing, more than for existing successful shows. What is it totally fails? Try it out online first. People will be more likely to watch TV shows on their TV than on their computer, so you would get a much more accurate test than just sampling the desktop users of your site. You could even insert “Would you watch this?” Previews into commercial breaks of other shows to see how interested people are based on first-impressions (and then you adjust your show and marketing accordingly for success).

3. Web Only content: You’ve got some web-only content now, this would just expand it. You could even pick-up some Internet TV shows. You’ve only got 24 hours in a day, and you don’t want to detract from what is currently playing, but if ratings for a show are declining run another show parallel to it online and see what gets better ratings, you’ll have an “Existing Show” vs “Online Pilot” vs “Rerun of a Successful Show” situation, and can make an educated and intelligent business decision about how to best use that timeslot. You know you can’t run them parallel on broadcast television, but online and on Google TV you can.

People will much more enjoy TV shows on their TV than on a computer screen, and a system like Google TV expands the users power and capabilities (and your available feature set) beyond that of television systems. My whole point is this; you’re missing out on viewers, and will be missing out on more as time goes on. Change is coming, why not build your base even more, generate revenue, and be at the forefront of change rather than trying to play catch-up in ten years?

Thank you for your inquiry. As always we thank you for your comments and concerns. We highly value our audience’s input for improvement whether positive or negative.
We have forwarded your communication to the appropriate party within our organization for review.


I don’t think they liked me asking questions and giving input.  You too can, and should, send a message to the CBS Support Team at cbsentertainment@cbs.com regarding Google TV.  I think it would really take a lot of users “making a fuss” to get them to realize that there is a significant market share they are missing-out on.  If you send them a message leave a comment, strength in numbers and all…

2 thoughts on “Why Doesn’t CBS Allow Their Content on Google TV Devices?

  • April 1, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Good job. Way to push some very important issues they should have thought of already. Their canned response is sad. Hopefully someone is thinking they need to look into this a little more.

  • September 15, 2012 at 6:05 AM

    We purchused a device that has google tv. I did because my computor is old and the memory is slow so if we miss tv shows they do not show up well [choppy]. We are old and can’t afford cable. Please consider us to be able to see your shows on google tv. signed, Bruce Andersen


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