Discovery Channel deal gets mainstream media play

The Wall Street Journal has an article today about the new Discovery Channel network link for Google Earth, as does the Washington Post. It’s clear (from Ogle Earth’s visitor stats, at least) that yesterday’s content announcements are driving a major boost in downloads of the Google Earth client. Both these articles should further push along the mainstreaming of Google Earth, slowly turning it into an application you can assume has been installed on a PC. Everything is going according to plan:-)

The only thing that’s lagging perhaps is mainstream reporters’ understanding of what precisely is going on when the Discovery Channel announces “availability of Discovery’s world-class video content on Google Earth”. Here is WaPo:

Over the next few weeks, Google’s program will begin including a globe icon, linking users to a series of two- to four-minute videos from Discovery’s archives.

Not quite. As the WSJ reports, you currently download a network link static KML file with 10 tagged locations manually, but it will soon be available as a default layer, just like National Geographic’s Africa content. Meanwhile, the WSJ is a bit too enthusiastic:

The feature, which marks the first time that Google has promoted video content on Google Earth…

Google’s promotion of National Geographic’s content about Africa, including video, in fact came first. But both articles do add information: Neither side in the deal is sharing revenue — instead, Google Earth gets the market penetration, while the Discovery Channel website gets traffic it can monetize.

Something else worth pointing out, perhaps: The videos are not “on” or “in” Google Earth in the sense that the application hosts or streams the content. An ordinary network link leads to the Discovery Channel’s site, where the video is streamed; Discovery Channel bears the bandwidth burden. For Google, this promotion involves minimal effort.