10.13.2005

My Sides Hurt

Apple reveals iPod video and the skeptics crawl out. My favorite? THIS guy:

*snip*
"The video iPod was born from arrogance. Apple has been so successful with the audio iPod that it thinks it can't go wrong. But it will this time. This is an example of a technology that is being launched only because it can be, not because anybody wants it."

I expect this kind of doomsaying from the paid and unpaid minions of other companies sprinkled throughout the packetsphere (anyone remember how the press dogged the original iPod as "just another mp3 player"?).

I'm an Apple fan, to be sure, but I think this will likely eventually work (if not for Apple, then for someone like Sony) for a few reasons.

1. The video market is ripe for selling single episodes of television shows, commercial-free. With a splintered pipeline (we call it cable), it becomes important to hit the high-end demographics. These bo-bos want quality narrative and they want it commercial free. HBO does it for dedicated-cable network viewers and Netflix does it for the fans who want to wait until it can be compiled and put on DVDs. This hits both the unwired (me, incidentally--I don't even own a T.V. and I subscribe to Netflix) AND the folks who don't want to watch episodes on schedule, don't want to bother with TiVo, and don't want to wait for the DVDs. This isn't a huge group, but this group certainly has money.
2. Nearly every major television network has podcasts right now ("Foxcasts, NPR, ABC, ESPN, CBS, NBC, etc.). People know that it is all about multi-channel marketing and sales, and that, for now, iTunes is a big part of that landscape. ABC, er Disney, er Pixar, is the only network that has content for now. I doubt it will be that long before other networks will want to see their shows repackaged for iTunes and competing with Disney/ABC/ESPN/Pixar (and yes, I think this signals Pixar re-upping with Disney now that Eisner is toast). Selling a few thousand downloads at 2.99 a pop isn't the point. Being able to promote shows on podcasts and sell the music or audiobooks being hawked on the shows IS the point. You build mindshare and stickiness by making the mediation process seamless/painless and by minimizing the "push" aspects of the marketing (removing ads, keeping the interface uncluttered but full of choices, etc.)
3. The small "television" is not the point. I don't think hooking it directly into your TV will be the point either (although I do think Apple will focus on this thing in the near future to make the bridge--it's what people have). I think the future is projection onto a much wider variety of surfaces. This makes eyeglasses television possible (think about watching a weather vlog on your way to work; think about video in the back seat of the car with the iPod controls in the front where Dad and Mom can get to them; think about hooking an iPod into a video projector at home (with wireless to the stereo system). Narrative on Demand. Now you can purchase shows and throw a themed party. Select a favorite episode whenever it pops into your head.

Jobs and company have been too far ahead sometimes (the cube; the Newton, etc.), but I think Apple is on the breaking edge of this wave. Should be a fun ride.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.slate.com/id/2127924/

Doc Mara said...

Don't just lurk and throw out "somebody in the world thinks you are a zombie for liking Apple" links. Say something and take credit for it. C'mon now, do you think the iPod was "just another mp3 player" now? Do you think the "beleagured" Apple could convince the 2% market share Apple zombies to take over 75% of the downloadable music biz?

By the way, that was all said with tongue in cheek. Step out and take a shot at the mike. The comments section is open.

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