How Bob Iger Saved Network Television
October 14, 2005 11:24 AM   Subscribe

How Bob Iger Saved Network Television - Mark Cuban explains how the Apple/Disney deal for content on the video iPod is a huge turning point for the entertainment industry.
posted by Argyle (70 comments total)
 
Disclaimer: I work for Disney.
posted by Argyle at 11:24 AM on October 14, 2005


This revolution will be predicated upon people both buying the new ipod in droves and paying for content they can watch for free in a more convenient (read: larger) format. While he makes a decent case for some types of programming (which normally don't cost much per episode in syndication), it seems like it will be difficult to make much money on most other programming.
posted by wakko at 11:36 AM on October 14, 2005


I love my iPod but I'm not upgrading it to a video iPod anytime soon and there's just no way I'm paying $2 to watch a tiny version of my shows.

Sorry, Apple/Disney, try again.
posted by fenriq at 11:40 AM on October 14, 2005


The fundamental difference for me is that my iPod plays music that enhances my day and does not consume my attention. A video iPod would take all of my attention and make me less connected with the world. And less able to actually get any work done.

I don't want or need the ability to watch TV or movies or videos at work or on my way to work. But I do like listening to music.
posted by fenriq at 11:42 AM on October 14, 2005


Given that most his blog is given over to publicizing his own business interests (HDNet films, etc) I wouldn't take his pronouncements too seriously.
posted by QuietDesperation at 11:42 AM on October 14, 2005


My issue with this device is this: The -only- people I see using iPods are out walking, jogging, or doing other activities. The video iPod has to be marketed to an entirely different audience, who are sedentary in varied locations (away from the TV/DVD) and have cash to burn. IOW, spoiled teenagers.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:43 AM on October 14, 2005


...and there's just no way I'm paying $2 to watch a tiny version of my shows.

I think this has been a common reaction to the recent Apple news, but people are forgetting that these downloadable shows are not JUST for the iPod (I think Apple HAD to put video on the regular iPod to boost sales that were otherwise going to the Nano line). The shows can be downloaded and watched on your computer (Mac or PC) full-screen (albeit in a less-than perfect resolution).

Forget about the iPod... a major network has seen the light and is offering a legitimate alternative to bit-torrent. The iPod is just flash and sparkle. They're changing the business model, which is what file-sharing advocates have always been whining about when trying to legitimize their downloading (myself included). This will lead to more networks signing on board, and probably, eventually, movies.
posted by Robot Johnny at 11:46 AM on October 14, 2005


Actually, I've been wondering for the past few days, ever since this IPod video thing hit the newswire... How many people are actually going to watch videos on their IPod and how often are they going to watch them? I mean, I could certainly understand storing videos on the IPod, essentially using it as a portable hard drive. And if you could connect it to a camera phone or other very small, portable video camera, I could see using it to carry around your personal videos and show your friends. But unless you spend a lot of time riding buses and subways or have a job that involves killing a lot of time, how often do you actually want to watch videos on a little box?
posted by Clay201 at 11:46 AM on October 14, 2005


APPLE IS GOOD
APPLE IS GREAT
EVERYTHING IT MAKES
IS REALLY FIRST RATE

*repeat as necessary until you believe it
posted by you just lost the game at 11:47 AM on October 14, 2005


You can watch the iTunes video downloads on your computer. You don't need a video iPod.

And, yes, we here on Metafilter are all super smart and can download TV shows on Bittorrent for free and in HD quality, or have PVRs set up to record all our shows and skip over commercials. I think there's plenty of other people there who think the quality currently offered via iTunes is more than enough and are willing to spend the couple bucks to catch a TV episode they missed.

(kind of what Robot Johnny said)
posted by zsazsa at 11:48 AM on October 14, 2005


I was late to finding out about the TV thing (just watched the announcement yesterday) and my immediate thought was "Buy Apple stock".

This is HUGE news and will turn the industry on its ear in coming months/years. Though this new "product" (purchasable, downloadable tv shows) is just out of the gate it will have a permanent affect on many industries. How far away can downloadable films be? How will that affect the film production industry? The home video industry? DVD? When more tv shows become available, cable tv will be affected. HBO and other subscription services will be affected. As far as the entertainment industries go, I don't think the long range affect of this announcement can be understated.

I love my iPod but I'm not upgrading it to a video iPod anytime soon and there's just no way I'm paying $2 to watch a tiny version of my shows.

Perhaps you won't, but if you don't think many, many people will, I believe you're wrong. People pay upwards of $4 (plus tax) to rent a dvd of a show that they have to walk to-and-from the video store for, can't rewatch, and have to wait as much as a year after broadcast for. Episodes of popular television available within 24 hours of broadcast, even at the current dimensions, will be huge.

I assume most people will watch them on their computers or plug the iPod into their TV or a friend's computer and watch rather than just on the iPod screen. However, many others will watch last night's show on their way to work. This is more "productive" (I think) than people would consider just listening to music. They've got that hour back that they couldn't leave the house (they're spending it travelling on the bus to work anyway).

This is a major, major announcement and shouldn't be underestimated.
posted by dobbs at 11:50 AM on October 14, 2005


understated overstated.
posted by dobbs at 11:52 AM on October 14, 2005


Hmmm...no wifi...no radio...no memory card slot. I don't think anyone will buy this new iPod.

/sarcasm. Here's a prediction, and I'm going waaaay out on a limb here: Apple will sell millions of these.

Why isn't anyone talking about the implications for video podcasting? What's to stop anyone with a web site from making their own show? This could really smash the big networks into a fine powder if done properly. It's only a matter of time before sites start syndicating their own video content with RSS. When people do this in significant numbers, stand back.
posted by mullingitover at 11:52 AM on October 14, 2005


I have no interest in a video ipod. I did however download an episode of Lost to watch on my computer. It sucked. I was like watching a really bad quicktime as it repeatedly dropped frames, the video wouldn't stay in sync. Oh and then it wouldn't play.

I'm willing to accept that it has something to do with the fact that I used a wireless connection to download it. So I'm willing to try one more time. But if it sucks on my other computer, I shall uninstall itunes forever.
posted by drezdn at 11:52 AM on October 14, 2005


Snark aside, it occured to me that people on planes might be a large potential market for these things. I went to Thailand last year and would have killed for a portable video screen. Sure, I could have taken my laptop and a fistful of DVDs with me, but that would have been highly inconvenient.
posted by you just lost the game at 11:54 AM on October 14, 2005


Oh, and porn. Don't forget porn.
posted by you just lost the game at 11:54 AM on October 14, 2005


Hey I'm all for it as long as I can watch those shows on my PSP.
posted by lyam at 11:55 AM on October 14, 2005


What's to stop anyone with a web site from making their own show?

Production values? Why would it be better to videocast to an ipod then to do it to a computer as is already possible?
posted by drezdn at 11:58 AM on October 14, 2005


drezdn, with a 1.5" screen, who needs production values?!
posted by zsazsa at 12:02 PM on October 14, 2005


I tried this out yesterday - actually, it was in fact, the first time I even tried ITunes itself. The model is good - seeing as I don't own a tv and don't subscribe to cable on the basis that most television is shite, it makes sense (piratebay notwithstanding) to pay 2 bucks for a show that I *would* like to see.

So the model is nice, however, the implementation blows. ITunes crashed twice (winXP) upon downloading (for ages) shows, placing the file in some 'tmp' folder. When i found it and played it, I found the video framerate poor (especially if you go full screen). The actual picture and sound quality was *ok*, but compared to the stuff you can get at the piratebay (usually mpgs), the video was a sad sight to watch.
posted by ginbiafra at 12:03 PM on October 14, 2005


I'm not going to pay two bucks for low-resolution, DRM-crippled, on-my-own-buck-download television.

When you're competing with Information Wants To Be Free, you'd best have a better plan than that.

I am willing to pay a buck to the creators of a show -- not the distributors -- if they release on something like bittorrent.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:04 PM on October 14, 2005


*shakes fist at you just lost the game*

I had months! Months!
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:07 PM on October 14, 2005


Do people who hate Apple also hate Olympic athletes for being so athletic?
posted by spock at 12:07 PM on October 14, 2005


yeah, spock, the only reason people might dislike Apple is because they're so terrific. come on.
posted by jonmc at 12:15 PM on October 14, 2005


And, yes, we here on Metafilter are all super smart and can download TV shows on Bit Torrent for free and in HD quality, or have PVRs set up to record all our shows and skip over commercials. I think there's plenty of other people there who think the quality currently offered via iTunes is more than enough and are willing to spend the couple bucks to catch a TV episode they missed.

I think you're underestimating the prevalence of DVRs. cable and satellite companies are offering DVRs these days for a small fee (I'm paying $9 for an HD-DVR). Somewhere in the recent past the people I knew with DVRs well outnumbered the people I knew with iPods.

The real untapped market for Pay-Per-View TV programming isn't iPod owners, it's TV owners. The "on-demand" channels on my cable system are utter crap. I wouldn't mind paying $2 for an episode of a show my DVR missed because of a conflict (sans commercials, of course). It's nice that Apple opened the door for this, but I don't want to use my iPod to watch TV shows (just like I don't want to use my PSP to watch movies - but, if Sony's hype is to be believed, I'm in the minority there).

Do people who hate Apple also hate Olympic athletes for being so athletic?

No. People hate Apple because of people like you.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:26 PM on October 14, 2005


You get roughly three hours of video playback, which is about enough to watch a show or two on the commute to work, and to do the same on the way back.

It's not enough battery power for those long road trips. It's not enough for pretty much any purpose other than to kill time on the commute. If you're just listening to music, 16 hours of battery life is enough for nearly any purpose.

They've got to either improve the battery life on portable devices or reduce the power draw.

And the screen has to be a hell of a lot bigger. I might pay two bucks for an episode of a TV show that I can watch on a portable device with a battery life four or five times as long as is currently available with a screen size, colour depth and resolution at least equal to that of a PSP. At the very least.

I wouldn't pay two bucks for this, and I don't think many people will. It's very much a niche market. As for video podcasting, audio podcasting is a fringe fad. Video podcasting would be even more of a fringe fad.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:35 PM on October 14, 2005


Do people who hate Apple also hate Olympic athletes for being so athletic?
posted by spock at 3:07 PM EST on October 14 [!]


Pretty much.
posted by Rothko at 12:41 PM on October 14, 2005


Look, I don't care if it's made by al qaeda. If you make a product that boasts technological innovations, receives kudos for its design/form factor, and is rewarded by consumers to the tune of totally dominating the market (after creating much of that market in the first place), how can someone denegrate people who like it by saying something like this?
It adds nothing to the discussion (not to mention being a strong indicator of someone with an abusive personality). It's a troll. It's like going to a Taco Bell and telling everybody they are morons for eating there because you happen to dislike it. Nobody forces anybody to click on a FPP and nobody forces anybody to push the comment button.

There will always be people who don't get the significance of a new tool immediately. Fortunately (for the sake of progress) there are those who do, and who think of new ways to use it and to extend it. Apple is always walking a fine line between pandering to the entertainment industry and using it as cover - knowing that it's users will come up with great ways to utilize it's products outside the normal distribution channels.
posted by spock at 12:46 PM on October 14, 2005


I just want to have it on record that I think this will be a big success, and that the price is perfect.
posted by Marquis at 12:46 PM on October 14, 2005


I love my iPod but I'm not upgrading it to a video iPod anytime soon and there's just no way I'm paying $2 to watch a tiny version of my shows.

I wouldn't pay 99¢ to listen to music through the iPod's tiny, built-in speaker either.
posted by delmoi at 12:48 PM on October 14, 2005


Why isn't anyone talking about the implications for video podcasting? What's to stop anyone with a web site from making their own show?

You know, people have been selling personal, hard-drive-based video players for years now, just like they were selling mp3 players before apple started.

Oh, but now that apple is doing it it's going to revolutionize everything. I forgot, sorry.
posted by delmoi at 12:52 PM on October 14, 2005


*shakes fist at you just lost the game*

I had months! Months!


Its very important that you tell us all immediately. Please inform us of any other changes to internal monologue. Perhaps you could post update FPPs.
posted by delmoi at 12:54 PM on October 14, 2005


Do people who hate Apple also hate Olympic athletes for being so athletic?

Uh. No.
posted by delmoi at 12:56 PM on October 14, 2005


There will always be people who don't get the significance of a new tool immediately.

What new tool?
posted by eyeballkid at 12:59 PM on October 14, 2005


My first thought when I heard about this Apple/Disney alliance was "How would news of a partnership between Microsoft and Disney go over here on Metafilter?

That being said...I like many of Apple's products, but don't particularly like the zealots and cheerleaders.
posted by rocket88 at 12:59 PM on October 14, 2005


Mark Cuban explains how the Apple/Disney deal for content on the video iPod is a huge turning point for the entertainment industry

Erp. Excuse me. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
posted by rusty at 1:01 PM on October 14, 2005


Look, I don't care if it's made by al qaeda. If you make a product that boasts technological innovations, receives kudos for its design/form factor, and is rewarded by consumers to the tune of totally dominating the market (after creating much of that market in the first place), how can someone denegrate people who like it by saying something like this?

There is absolutely nothing technologically innovative about the iPod video. Other then the touch wheel, there has never been anything innovative technically about it. There are tons of mp3 players out there, some of which are better, but they don't have the marketing and inertia of the iPod. Lots of people eat at McDonalds and shop at Walmart and Listen to Britney Spears. Does that make all of those things good? Popularity has very little to do with quality.

You could buy little devices that would play music and video for years. The video iPod is nothing new, although the iTunes thing is impressive, it really has nothing to do with technology and every thing to do with Jobs' business acumen (not to mention Disney's desire to get back into Pixar's pants)
posted by delmoi at 1:06 PM on October 14, 2005


Nobody forces anybody to click on a FPP and nobody forces anybody to push the comment button.

Dude, come on. If you like Apple and whatnot, bully for you. But this product seems very un-Apple-like, in that it coulda-shoulda-woulda been a more thought-out product. Are TV show downloads cool? Yes. Is the video iPod cool? It's not hard to make the case that it's not.

[/OMG I HATE TACO BELL]
posted by 23skidoo at 1:15 PM on October 14, 2005


If you make a product that boasts technological innovations, receives kudos for its design/form factor, and is rewarded by consumers to the tune of totally dominating the market (after creating much of that market in the first place) ...

That's as much a description of Windows as it is the iPod. Ugh.

People pay upwards of $4 (plus tax) to rent a dvd of a show that they have to walk to-and-from the video store for, can't rewatch, and have to wait as much as a year after broadcast for.

Are you living in 1993? I get unlimited movies a month by mail, and each TV show DVD usually contains 6-12 episodes (usually 6 hours). I can rewatch them as much as I want, until I want to send the DVD back. I can even burn a copy (illegally).

This deal with Apple will not save the TV networks. Nothing will save the TV networks, aside from continued governmental subsidies.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:19 PM on October 14, 2005


Mark Cuban explains how you can now get outtakes and behind the scenes features from The Benefactor for just $1.99. Someone please, please make him a STAR!

Hrm.

I've been beating the video-iPod-is-a-dumb-idea drum for the last couple weeks, and nothing I've seen since Wednesday has changed my mind. A Mac Mini-based media center, with DVR capabilities, would've been a much better hardware companion to the video store, IMO.
posted by aaronetc at 1:30 PM on October 14, 2005


I would probably pay US$2 for a quality, non-DRMed (i.e., burnable to DVD or VCD) download of a new Doctor Who episode. That's the show that made me a BitTorrent user.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:46 PM on October 14, 2005


just to mediate a little, the enthusiasm (Cuban's and most posters) seems to be for the innovation apple made NOT with a portable video player, but for adding TV programming to its successful iTunes store.

Lots of folks love bittorrent and its ilk because it gives us something many/most of us have wanted for a long time - a la carte programming. Who hasn't wished that they could only get the cable/sat channels (or individual shows) they watch and not pay for the rest? Apple did good with their solution to this regarding the album vs. single tracks, and if they do video as well as they did audio....then there's a good chance it may make changes to the way TV happens. But it doesn't solve copyright/compensation problems or the whole wait for someone to rip the show, put it up, and hope that it's still popular by the time you go looking for it. Ever try to get something 2 years old, or obscure, through torrents? The article is right, this could do wonders for back-catalogs TV and movies.

But the pooh-poohers have point(s) as well.
The current quality of the files they sell is not good enough for most of us. But the article makes a good point saying that competition will improve this (future: "Apple video sux - buy your TV from soandso").
Also, I watch about 5 shows that are on every week; $2 each is $40/month. As those numbers vary, it makes more or less sense for me to pay for cable and a DVR rather than just what I want a la carte. Mileage may vary.

on preview: Artifice - glad I'm not the only one. But now I'm getting MOST of my TV that way.
posted by bartleby at 1:54 PM on October 14, 2005


Are you living in 1993? I get unlimited movies a month by mail, and each TV show DVD usually contains 6-12 episodes (usually 6 hours). I can rewatch them as much as I want, until I want to send the DVD back. I can even burn a copy (illegally).

Nope. But I don't like renting by mail as I like to dictate my own schedule. I just returned from the video store and rented disc one of Lost. It was $3.75 including tax. It's due back tomorrow by midnight. I think it has 3 episodes on it.

The disc came out a few weeks ago, to my knowledge. The episodes on it aired over a year ago on television.

Yes, I could have went and searched for a torrent and ended up with a shitass .avi after downloading for ages but my time is worth more than that and I don't consider it too ethical.

Do you honestly think that a fan of X television show is not gonna delight in the fact that they don't have to stay in to watch it but can get it the next day for less than the cost of a bus ride--or a milkshake or a beer--and watch it at their leisure?

People can argue till their blue in the face about this announcement (they certainly did about the initial iPod). Those thinking it's not gonna fly will be proved wrong soon enough (as were the detractors of the first iPod, of which I was one).

For chrissakes, Apple sold a million Nanos in 17 days. Whether you consider these customers stupid or smart or koolaid fanatics is irrelevant! The point is that they exist. And they will flock to this thing in droves.
posted by dobbs at 2:00 PM on October 14, 2005


Oh, and as for renting by mail... I reckon this thing will kill that in about 4 years or quicker. Downloadable content will tear the disc renting business a new one. I worked in the business for 14 years managing large chains, mom and pop shops, and alternative stores. People (noobs!) were asking me about when I thought movies would be downloadable when I left the business in 1998. Consumers will splinter the gate for this, guaranteed.
posted by dobbs at 2:04 PM on October 14, 2005


You know, people have been selling personal, hard-drive-based video players for years now, just like they were selling mp3 players before apple started.
posted by delmoi at 3:52 PM EST on October 14 [!]


Apple sold an "mp3 player" with a much higher capacity, with a much better user interface, with a data exchange bus that was actually usably fast, with a software jukebox that was actually easy to use and functional.

It has to said that an online store integrated into this really did "change everything". Apple did the heavy lifting of bringing end users together with media companies that initially wanted nothing to do with the market.

None of the competitors could do the same. None of the competitors, even iRiver can do the same now. Does iRiver sell music and video online? Do they have music and video management software that actually works? Do these competitors sell devices with features people actually use in a form factor people can actually use?

As much as everyone likes to trash Apple, the simple fact is that its competitors will grudgingly admit they are behind Apple by years, simply by stealing and imitating every feature they legally can.
posted by Rothko at 2:10 PM on October 14, 2005


dobbs, real tv fanatics already have a PVR and now, with Tivo-To-Go, you can take your shows with you. You just can't take your Tivo-To-Go on your Video iPod. But I'm sure there are some free spirit coders working on "fixing" that oversight right now.
posted by fenriq at 2:13 PM on October 14, 2005


TV NETWORK: Hey stop downloading our shows!

INTERNET: OMFG! You suck! I'd totally pay if you offered your shows online yourself. Honest I would!

TV NETWORK: Okay, here you go.

INTERNET: OMFG! You suck for not doing it better!
posted by Robot Johnny at 2:29 PM on October 14, 2005


TiVo is fine for what's on now. What about everything that was ever made for TV? I'm waiting to be able to download or buy stuff that is NEVER going to get its own DVD release; and that I haven't found pirated either. I don't care who lets me do that, as long as I can keep it in my library and watch it again.
And for that reason, screw the portable video. I'll pay to download it, but I sure as hell am not going to be watching "Manimal" in public.
posted by penciltopper at 2:30 PM on October 14, 2005


You guys are missing the key aspect of this from Apple's side: there's no such thing as a "video iPod," just the 5th generation of the same-old iPod. Although there were black and white 4th generation models, as soon as the iPod photo was merged with the main trunk, it was the status quo. Now, the "status quo iPod" plays video. Anyone buying a new iPod is going to get a Nano, Shuffle, or... the new status quo, which just happens to play video. (It also has a much better battery life, is thinner, and has a larger screen, the reasons I wanted the damn thing).

The video thing can fail. Apple's made a device that is a better audio player than the last generation and happens to play video. They've also set themselves up as a vendor of low-quality video, which could very easily shift into a two- or three-tier video sale. I doubt full-blown HD sales will take off anytime soon due to file sizes and bandwidth concerns, but we'll get there eventually. And by that point, Apple will either have a box running their new FrontRow application that's meant to be used with a television, or they'll go straight to having their own DVR.
posted by mikeh at 2:42 PM on October 14, 2005


When I first saw this comment I thought: Does anyone actually care what Mark Cuban thinks. I resisted posting it as a comment because, you know, I don't like to shit in the blue... Now we have an actual FPP about it... ARGH!!!!

On the other hand, it does give me a chance to post this Mark Cuban quote I have been saving up:
Hey, I'll sell anything. It's one of those things, when you first think of it it may not feel right, but three weeks later... It's all green.
So, lets give this a little more thought... What business is our friend Mark in? In light of the above quote, it really stops being a question of do we care what Mark Cuban thinks, doesn't it?

Pepsi Blue!!!
posted by Chuckles at 3:08 PM on October 14, 2005


They've proven they can sell digital media in a convenient way by the boatload. That's what they're doing well.

iVideo or whatever they call it will be huge.
posted by cell divide at 3:17 PM on October 14, 2005


I want Mark Cuban's world to become the real world.
posted by mullacc at 4:22 PM on October 14, 2005


The real untapped market for Pay-Per-View TV programming isn't iPod owners, it's TV owners.

I agree. Companies such as Echostar are offering portable video players (rebadged Archos PVPs) to sync and download saved shows from their boxes in *seconds* (the PVP and the Dish box share the same codecs, I guess, so it's limited by USB2 and HD speeds). That is a pretty painless setup for most TV owners, and their perceived "download" speed is virtually instantaneous.
posted by meehawl at 4:39 PM on October 14, 2005


Have Apple made any statements about these downloadable episodes being advert-free? The cynic in me is looking at $2 downloads, ad-hooks already existing in TV episodes and the apparent lack of fast-forward or rewind facilities on the new Ipod and seeing some slimy marketing exec's eyes lighting up...
posted by terpsichoria at 4:42 PM on October 14, 2005


I think the idea of offering basically disposable TV for single item licence fees ala Apple is going to be a constrained market. Most of what people watch on TV they consider disposable. It is saved for a while and deleted. Obviously, fans will pay extra for high-quality, boxed DVD sets, as has emerged in the last few years.

But back to my point, for the vast majority of people, TV is disposable. I suspect that the prospect of dealing with fiddly little per-item licence fees will be off-putting. There's a reason why most people who watch pay-per TV pony up to setups like HBO for content aggregation.

Therefore, I suspect if the whole legal download video market takes off it will quickly develop content aggregators, who will licence material from content providers. They will sell it to people as subscription services, ala Napster/Yahoo/Rhapsody. Of course, for fans, there will still be the option to pay extra to obtain an unlimited use/"eternal" licence.

I'd love to see a breakdown from the subscription companies as to how many of their tunes are downloaded on temporary licences, versus unlimited pay-per licences.

I suspect Apple would love to get in on the subscription model (after all, .Mac is a huge money earner for it), but currently lacks the software mojo. It took MS several painful years to get Janus to a stage where it kind of works, most of the time.

There are those people who say "But Apple will NEVER do subscriptions - Steve has said that over and over". Well, he was also crapping on fancy Flash players (cue "Nano"), and personal video players. Apple craps on everything it either does not currently sell, cannot currently make, or has yet to figure out how to make money from.
posted by meehawl at 4:50 PM on October 14, 2005


Have Apple made any statements about these downloadable episodes being advert-free?

They *must* be ad-free. Nobody is going to pay to watch advertising (except for in movie theaters, for some bizarre reason).
posted by mrgrimm at 5:33 PM on October 14, 2005


People pay for cable, which is loaded down with ads.
posted by Rothko at 5:37 PM on October 14, 2005


Yes, they're ad free. Jobs said so at the presentation.
posted by dobbs at 5:55 PM on October 14, 2005


People pay for cable, which is loaded down with ads.

Which is exactly like downloading a single episode of a show onto your computer.
posted by eyeballkid at 6:05 PM on October 14, 2005


Most of the conversation surrounding this announcement has been from the consumer's POV, but what about the people making the product?

I happen to be a member of the WGA and the president of my guild sent a mass email today informing the members that the downloads offered by ABC may not be covered by the collective bargaining agreements currently existing between the studios, networks, and guilds. The WGA, DGA, and SAG are all upset because they basically gave away DVD residuals back in the day (that's a whole 'nother story, but it is also a factor behind the push to get DVDs into the market; studios only have to share a fraction of the profits w/ the artists). Currently, the guilds are saying that they won't make the same mistake w/ the reuse of their product for online distribution.

That $2-buck-per-episode sounds great, but I wonder if it can possibly stick if the people selling the product have to share their weath with the people who created the product.

Beyond that, I can't see how traditional local affiliates who pay the national networks (either directly or through ad time) could consider this development favorable. It decreases the value of their product (you want to watch "Lost," you have to watch our channel). A product that's already seen its value decrease thanks to the studios (by almost immediately releasing series on DVD, killing their syndication value; by expanding the off-broadcast universe exponentially). I can't help but wonder if there's a tipping point where it makes more financial sense for local stations in, say, Kansas to dump their network affiliations and run Judge Judy repeats and extended local news programs 24/7.

Of course, all these problems are just functions of the current media distribution system we have in place. A system that has its roots in radio and that's presently held in place by duct-tape and inertia. A fundamental change in media distribution is almost inevitable. But it may not happen without work stoppages, service interruptions, and nothing but jib-jab parody videos to keep the nation entertained while an industry suffers through its growing pains. (Lowercase "g" & "p", we suffered through the uppercase version in the 80s and all we got out of that was Leonardo DeCaprio).
posted by herc at 6:14 PM on October 14, 2005


I can't see how traditional local affiliates who pay the national networks (either directly or through ad time) could consider this development favorable

I'm anticipating several "Buggy Whips! Buggy Whips!" cries right about now...

In point of fact, I read this piece today:

Deal has some ABC affiliates feeling uneasy
posted by meehawl at 6:32 PM on October 14, 2005


the way to save network television is to produce desirable content and show it on...get this...network television. is this story about saving network television if people are downloading episodes and watching them on an iPod, which is not a television?
posted by clyde at 8:47 PM on October 14, 2005


Excellent points, herc. I think you're right about the inevitable period of time with amateur entertainment taking over for a dwindling set of professionals. That's not such a bad thing (unless you work in the entertainment industry).

From meehawl's link:

Disney-ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney argued that the deal could make the broadcasts more popular. "This is for people who are devotees of Lost and Desperate Housewives and missed a couple episodes," she said. It may also bring in "kids who have heard about Raven and never experienced it."

I'd have to strongly disagree there. The main people that these downloadable shows will appeal to are those people who can't see them via cable. If your interest in "Raven" is enough to pay $2 for an episode, wouldn't it also be enough to use your DVR or VCR to record it, for free? Then again, we're not well known for making rational decisions ...

The other big selling point will be collections of TV material aggregated specifically for downloadable sales, e.g. top goals from English Premier League this week or whatnot. I still think that $2 price point is a significant deterrent for anyone who pays a monthly cable or satellite subscription.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:35 AM on October 15, 2005


I did download another copy and that one worked much better. The only reason I hadn't seen the episode I downloaded was because of a move, I was between DVR boxes though.

As for opening up things for amateur video makers, according to something on "On The Media" studies have found that people prefer the big network shows for entertainment. Maybe amatuer stuff will get better, but it will take some time.
posted by drezdn at 8:14 AM on October 15, 2005


Given that most his blog is given over to publicizing his own business interests (HDNet films, etc) I wouldn't take his pronouncements too seriously.

All of the posts on his front page are about business, but only two on his businesses. I thought blogs were supposed to be about that person's life. Business is his life. So what if he talks about his projects? Who cares? Some of us might actually be interested.
posted by Rubbstone at 9:57 AM on October 15, 2005


I thought blogs were supposed to be about that person's life

A journal is about your life, a blog was originally a collection of links to things you find interesting on the internet.
posted by drezdn at 10:18 AM on October 15, 2005


People, and children(!) traveling in planes, trains and automobiles; the ability to watch this on your computer; the inevitable "video ipod LCD monitor..." There is defintely a market out there, and room to grow one.

Don't sell Apple short. Evar.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:21 AM on October 15, 2005


Not only does this eat the lunch of the affiliates, it's hard to see how this does anything to save the networks, either.

If anything, this is one more nail in the network's coffin: take away the "Friends is on 8 p.m. on Channel 4" paradigm of television watching and you lose the rationale for the networks.

Hollywood doesn't need the networks to sell movies or DVDs and it eventually won't need the networks to sell first-run episodic programs, either. They'll get disintermediated: you pay something to Hollywood, and something to your bandwidth provider, and you're done. Or, you pay nothing to Hollywood and your bandwidth provider sells your eyeballs to advertisers -- who get a far better targeted ad audience -- and passes on half the proceeds to Hollywood.
posted by MattD at 12:28 PM on October 15, 2005


They'll get disintermediated: you pay something to Hollywood, and something to your bandwidth provider

I think I first read the word "disintermediation" in Wired, or maybe Boing Boing, sometime around 1994.

I'm still waiting...
posted by meehawl at 5:46 PM on October 15, 2005


All my television viewing for the past, ooh, at least eighteen months and possibly more than two years, has been via torrents.

I will never go back to network television. I will never pay for cable or satellite TV. Because I will not pay to be forced to abide by someone else's time scheduling nor pay to have advertising thrust at me. Hell, I quit going to movies because of the latter.

I hate not being able to pay the creators. I don't give a flying fuck for the distributors, but I want the writers, directors, and actors paid fairly for their work.

Apple is very close to making that possible. Two bucks a pop is a hard sell: I can buy permanent media versions for very nearly the same per-episode cost. Disposable media -- and television is so very disposable -- had best cost a lot less than that.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:25 PM on October 15, 2005


« Older Vikings Rrrrrr-ock!   |   Toss your camera Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments