The WSJ has reported that Apple has been meeting with Comcast, presumably to secure agreements for providing content for an online streaming platform.
This is certainly no surprise to any of us that follow Apple – we’d assume that this has been going on for a while – as this just reinforces our expectations for what Apple needs to accomplish in order to prepare for launching any sort of Apple TV device.If we look at the highly successful iTunes Store platform that Apple pioneered over 10 years ago, it would be a natural progression and extension of this model to assume that agreements with content providers (networks and publishers, like NBC and its networks) and content purveyors (Comcast and other TV subscription carriers) would be tantamount before developing the Apple TV model further than just a casual, internet-like browsing platform.
What tantalizes us the most is where this may lead. Again, let us look with 20/20 hindsight at what the iTunes store accomplished: the deconstruction of the ‘album’ and the destruction of the model of a ‘record store.’ While we can not completely credit Apple for this – the advent of MP3 and other technology was certainly paving the way for this natural progression – but we feel Steve Jobs and Apple saw what was about to happen and paved a path to dominate a yet-nonexistent marketplace.
So, now, today, we appear to be at the same crossroads – many TV viewers are not watching TV on a TV, but rather, on a portable device, like an iPhone or iPad; and are viewing it as a download, or timeshifted, out of the ‘classical’ context of a TV network or broadcast channel. It seems obvious that the next step is to remove the restrictions – and the advertising dollars – from the hands of content providers and cable operators and reallocate distribution methods for delivering the same content, albeit piecemeal, a la carté, on demand. This model has already proven successful for providers like Comcast – allowing for extensive viewing of content at the demand of consumers.
What does this likely mean for consumers? More choices, more availability. What services like Comcast currently provide is limited, but with a more expansive library (like Netflix) of syndicated content, there really would be no need for a cable subscription – you’d just need an Apple TV device. Oh, and an internet connection, via your former cable operator.
So this brings us back to the beginning: Apple clearly sees the need to square up an arrangement with providers like Comcast – not just for content, who will provide what and for how much do we get per advertising dollar – but for delivery routes.
Here’s a thought: recent discussion pointed to Apple readying full-screen advertising for devices like the iPhone to complement or replace the current bottom of the screen banner ads we currently view in free or cheap apps. Doesn’t this make more sense to test and roll out this platform as a vehicle for targeted advertising for when we are watching video content on our Apple TV or iPads? Does this mean what we really should be looking for is the advertising platform behind all of this (like Google’s AdSense)?
Last thought: Would Apple look to acquire/license the trademark “iTV” from the British network to cover all of this?