In September’s Wired came a long story titled ‘Reinventing Television.” He contrasts Yahoo’s sophisticated approach to integrating the website with television through video search and their own web tv programming to Google’s stumbling, not yet ready for primetime approach. It might be because Yahoo’s chairman Terry Semel spent 24 years at Warner Brothers.
“At a meeting with CBS last year, Google execs proudly mentioned that after working on an index of the grand old network’s video collection they had compiled a digitized database of CBS programs. Never mind that 11 million households around the country are doing essentially the same thing with their DVRs; CBS executives were aghast. The problem wasn’t so much that CBS was unaware of the TiVo phenomenon. It was Google’s Spock-like gaffe of plainly stating an obvious but painful fact: The network’s stranglehold on content is slipping away. The meeting ended abruptly, and the Googlers were shown the door.”
Far from kicking Yahoo! Out of the room, Hollywood refers to Semel, Braun et al as kindred spirits. “There are companies that are more technology-oriented, and companies like us and Yahoo that are more consumer-centric,” says Showtime executive VP Mark Greenberg, who worked with Braun’s group on the Fat Actress deal. “It helps that they talk the same language as we do.”