Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Google Pulls the Plug on Its TV Ads Business

Here’s a win for you, TV guys: Google is giving up on your business.

The search giant is shutting down Google TV Ads, its attempt to create an online marketplace for traditional TV spots. The idea was Google could make ad buying more efficient and Googley, but buyers, programmers and distributors never embraced the notion.

Google sank five years into the project, and eventually boasted that it could reach 42 million households, including agreements with distributors like Verizon and DirecTV. That’s close to half of the pay TV universe, but it’s hard to find evidence that the program really got traction.

Google TV Ads did last much longer than Google’s efforts to leap from digital into newspaper and radio ads. Those programs were shuttered in 2009, and in the case of the radio program, Google took the rare step of actually laying people off. That won’t happen this time around, Google says.

If you want to put a positive — and plausible — spin on it, you could argue that Google doesn’t need to spend any more time trying to break into traditional media, because it’s doing a bang-up job with digital. No need to chase dollars in the old media you don’t own if they’re flowing into the new world you dominate.


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I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo