Time Warner on Apple TV: Bold disruption or hopeless compromise?
Yesterday Bloomberg put out a story discussing a likely deal between Apple and Time Warner. The idea, apparently, is to bring Time Warner cable subscribers the ability to watch content via the Apple TV box in addition to being able to use the traditional cable set top box or iPad and iPhone apps.
As much as I think this is interesting, it doesn’t seem to line up with many people’s expectations (including my own) for a disruption in the TV market. Yes, it would be good for Time Warner because it gives their customers another way to watch content without having to be involved in the set top box distribution or maintenance. Apple shoulders that problem. And it’s good for Apple because it gives people another reason to buy a $99 box from the Mac, iPad and iPhone maker, sucking more people into it’s mobile and media platform.
But it doesn’t seem to do anything to disrupt. Forget commercials and scheduled watching of TV - the real problem with television these days is the geographic walls put up around the content. So you want to watch Game of Thrones? Good luck unless you have a cable subscription, in a certain geography, and subscribe to HBO. Don’t want cable? I guess you have to go the illegal route. Here’s a hilarious comic from The Oatmeal everyone should look at.
It seems obvious to me that the future of video entertainment lies in content creators actually being able to sell their content anywhere in the world. I think HBO and other specialty content creators need to grow some balls and figure this out. Netflix already has. There are no restrictions on where you can watch House of Cards, provided you pay a measly $8 per month for your Netflix account.
Apple needs to convince the big content creators to ditch their exclusive distribution through cable. It seems like Apple should be in the best position to do this, since it’s very similar to the app distribution model. Apple can make content available to anyone with an iTunes account, take care of distribution, and take a cut of the revenue. How is this any different from the clever things Apple has already done with music? It’s not (and if you disagree, tell me why in the comments).
A deal with Time Warner may just be a strategic first move to getting more people comfortable with the idea of watching TV on their Apple TV. And I’m not saying this is a bad idea. I’m just saying it doesn’t seem like anything close to a destination, but rather a tiny step along the journey.
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Former sell side analyst, out-of-box thinker, consultant, entrepreneur. Interests: Wife & kids, tech, NLP, fitness, travel, investing, 4HWW.
http://downhillbattle.org/itunes/ And I'm not bashing Apple on this, but Pete Townshend sure is, and I think he knows the industry better than us both:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/31/pete-townshend-itunes-digital-v... No one is out to screw the musicians, that's a childish way to see the industry. Everybody wants to make money on their back, including Apple, but arguably, at least the record companies did something in return. That's Townsend's argument. "Content creators don't have the means to distribute their product to the masses." Really? In the age of websites? Coldplay has its own website selling its songs and albums, who's the middle man there? The problem is that Coldplay would not be Coldplay without marketing and promotion, things that iTunes do not provide, but record companies do.
1. Motorola (I forget the name they gave the set top box division), Cisco, and other set top box makers would either go out of business or have to reduce the price of their boxes from several hundred $'s a box to $99. Monthly cable bills would drop by $15 to $30 per month depending on the number of boxes you rent per month.
2. Remember 40 years ago when you had to rent your phone from Ma Bell. Remember what happened when we were able to start buying your own phones.
3. OTT services would flourish as every TV would have access to the Internet. This is more of a nose under the tent than a coup d etat.
Besides why are you on an Apple site hating on Apple are you trolling? http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/06/10/next-gen-gaming-console...
Now for where you are really wrong, i quote "and I don't know if apple tv plays games or not"! How can you write so many comments about something you obviously know nothing about. No, the ATV doesn't play games, unless you use airplay to stream it from your iphone/ipad, but that still works well, and is getting better all the time. If apple can make the graphics on an iphone as good or better than the first Xbox/PS2, imagine what they could do if they made a device the same size as an xbox? The point is ATV has endless possibilities, and the fact that its the size of a puck, not a breeze block! makes it a winner. ATV is the future of media consumption. Xbox's are awesome for playing games.
and who's the follower I decide not to be a sheep in a Hurd by using wp8 but I'm called a follower but you are part of a herd the herd that use iPhone you follow just because your friends have a iPhone you do I do my own thing not just part of the crowd like you apple fanboy
2. The AppleTV is not much of a failure. It's sold 3x or 4x the number of all other streaming boxes (including Roku) combined.
3. I don't think that the cable companies will be able to do a favorable deal with Microsoft. If you want to use it as your set top box, it will be $600 (the extra $100 for the TV tuner and special version) plus don't forget that Microsoft charges almost as much every year for XBox Live as Apple gets for their AppleTV. It's not a game console, yet. But the most popular portable game console is the iPod Touch. It will be interesting.