Why Didn't CurrentTV Partner with Google?

 
 
By Steve Bryant  |  Posted 2006-09-20 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

CurrentTV's hipper-than-thou moxie doesn't jive with Google's nerdier-than-thou presentation. Google's presentation philosophy is via search. Yahoo's presentation philosophy is via brands.

The day after Yahoo's stock hit the floor, Yahoo announced a partnership with Current and the release of four co-branded broadband channels. The four channels in the Yahoo Current Network cover current events, travel, sports and auto.

Why those four channels, and why not seal this deal with Google? First, those channels (even though they have awkward names) are great advertising verticals. Or, well, three of them are.  

Second, Google could never pull off this kind of partnership. It's an advertising technology company. Yahoo is a media company, and it has the right attitude. CurrentTV's hipper-than-thou moxie doesn't jive with Google's nerdier-than-thou presentation. Plus, Google doesn't have much experience with branded channels. Its presentation philosophy is via search. Yahoo's presentation philosophy is through brands.

That said, Current has a co-branded show with Google called, what else, Google Current. The 2-to-3-minute show appears every half hour on CurrentTV and can also be seen online. According to Rafat at PaidContent, that show will now air with less frequency. I assume Current could also advertise its TV content through Google's video syndication program, now in tests with Viacom.

Current is a cable and satellite channel founded and backed by former vice president Al Gore. The channel contains a mix of user-generated and professionally produced content. Although it has been the focus of much hype and several partnerships with "Web 2.0" companies (such as Jumpcut and EyeSpot), the station itself is viewed in only 30 million homes. If that sounds like a lot, consider that Nielsen doesn't usually rank below 50 million households.

To my mind, the partnership has two value propositions for viewers, but each one comes with caveats:

  • Upload your videos to CurrentTV. Yay, you get to be on television. But does being on television still have the same attraction when you can build your personal brand on YouTube?
  • Bolsters Yahoo Video with professional content. But is professional content that important? Isn't the attraction of video-sharing sites the interaction between average folks uploading and sharing their personal videos?

At the end of the day, I don't think Google misses out on much by not partnering with CurrentTV. Especially if it's got a deal in the works with Apple's iTV.

 
 
 
 
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