Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Google TV Takes Another Baby Step

tv-catGoogle has already shut down its radio and print advertising programs–because “they didn’t work well enough,” in CEO Eric Schmidt’s words. But the company is still hoping that its foray into TV pans out. Latest milestone: The search giant is boasting that it has gotten marketers to commit “upwards of seven figures to buy ads” through its automated system.

The  TV advertising market is $70 billion, give or take a few billion. So when peeling off a few million dollars from that constitutes progress, you can see just how far Google (GOOG) has to go.

In fairness, Google’s TV business isn’t really designed to get ad commitments, at all–the whole idea is that advertisers can buy spots on the fly, the way they can with its core Web business. So this at least constitutes a willingness on the part of ad buyers to give the platform a shot.

But that platform is still pretty small after a couple years of work: Advertisers can use Google to reach viewers using Echostar’s (SATS) service, and some of GE’s (GE) NBC Universal cable networks, but that’s about it.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work