And consider this: Nielsen ratings would no longer be the deciding factor in what’s produced and what’s not. Much like it is for HBO and Showtime right now, it would be all about subscriber numbers. It already works this way for music and movies — we vote for what we want with our wallets — so there’s no reason TV couldn’t work the same way. The business model could take a page from Kickstarter and gauge interest in new shows from viewers by asking for “pledges” to subscribe to a new show if it gets enough such pledges and goes into production. Popular cult shows would see a serious boost from this more democratic means of doing things, while inexplicably popular mega-hits would be measured against better, more realistic rules. Personal circumstances, production studio politics, airings on certain nights of the week, shows getting shuffled around network schedules… None of these things would be a concern anymore.
Making all of this happen is no doubt an enormous challenge, since it goes without saying that TV content creators are wildly reluctant to take this kind of plunge. (This could account for why it’s taking Apple so long to bring iTV to market when there have been so many reports of working prototypes already existing inside Apple HQ.) But Apple is really good at finding ways of bringing other major players on board with them. They currently have content available in iTunes from every major TV content provider on the planet, after all. Still, I wouldn’t expect to see a full slate of TV shows available for iTV at launch. Remember that iTunes’ TV downloads launched with little more available than Disney-owned programs. But other studios jumped in when they saw how well it worked. Something similar will probably happen here.
A la carte TV viewing represents the same basic principle that the iTunes Music Store and iTunes Player do now. We choose the music we want to listen to, when we want to listen to it. We watch DVDs, Blu-rays, and digital movie downloads the same way, we play video games the same way, we read books the same way. Can you imagine only being able to read a book or listen to a CD at some arbitrary “broadcast” time chosen by the people that published it? Why should TV be stuck in the past, when other mediums are stepping into the future that’s plainly before us?
With iTV, your entire viewing experience will be transformed into an on-demand experience, exactly like all of your other content consumption. And it will come packaged in the kind of intelligent, elegant experience that only Apple creates. Oh, and there will probably be apps made just for iTV, too.
I’ve obviously thought about this a lot. Now I want to hear what you think. Did I hit the nail on the head? Or am I way off the mark?
I've always assumed that AAPL was going for "a la carte" regarding the iTV. I pretty much have that with my two Tivos. I can watch what I want, and when I want, on either T.V. and can even watch on my computer. Many shows are also available free online.
Cost will be a major factor. Will consumers flock to, let's say, a $2000 television the same as they did to a $250 iPod? (Smaller iPods cost less.) Also, what would the monthly service charge be?
How will AAPL be able to offer ALL T.V. shows? Dexter & Homeland are on Showtime, Boardwalk Empire & Game Of Thrones are on HBO, The Walking Dead & Mad Men are on AMC, and so on. Can AAPL reach an agreement with all content providers? I'm not so sure this is possible.
IMO, AAPL is now a speculative stock. Those who want to speculate may make money. They might lose also. Steve Jobs was a genius and a visionary and was the creative force behind AAPL. Now he is gone. Forget about today's sales of iPhones and iPads. Think longterm and about future sales and competition. Will AAPL always land on top? Doubtful.
The studios like more competition bidding for their content. That's what exists now. Why in all heaven would they consider a model that could change that? Never!! It's a non-starter.
AAPL will change its business model and acquire a pure content provider. There is no way Cook would ever say that even if its true. If you wanted to buy all the land in a specific area would you warn the landowners or buy each parcel under a different name?