March 28th, 2007
I played with an Apple TV yesterday … It is truly delightful as you would expect. It makes the consumer experience of navigating downloaded content as easy and enjoyable as live TV content. This is a breakthrough innovation which will shift the behavior of TV viewers and the spending of advertisers. This promises to have a significant positive impact on our society.
Folks who are now used to time shifting and DVR pausing will quickly realize that they can easily program their Apple TV to have so much compelling content in subscription delivery form (podcasts) that their TV consumption behavior will shift from channel surfing and occasional ‘must see’ scheduled viewing to a model where they no longer have enough time to consume all of their stored and immediately available content. This content from their podcast subscriptions will be constantly trickling down to them. They will be making tough choices between many high-quality sources rather than passively surfing the garbage that is the stuff of most live TV today.
I have this problem with my audio podcast subscriptions today and I spend more and more time with this content as a result. I squeeze shows in when ever I can. I have so much great content waiting for me that I no longer think about when it is published. I just consume it as soon as I can. I never seem to run out of it.
The same thing will happen with video podcast content and soon most folks won’t have a reason for live TV or cable services in general. What about live news content? Will downloading make me feel out of touch with live events and breaking news? Well, what if you had more current news content than you can possibly watch from sources like CBS, CNN, NBC, or PBS? Folks will find lots of mainstream news content that is updated daily or even hourly now ready for Apple TV as well as several daily news video sources that offer more investigative and independent reporting, like Democracy Now!
This will create a new digital divide between the old live TV folks and the new “downloaders” … with lots of painful industry writhing as a result. We see it now with all of the networks adding shock entertainment and vile news content to appeal to base emotions as a way to desperately hold on to their audiences. This trend will simply accelerate the adoption of video downloading as viewers seek higher quality niche content. Advertisers will shift their spending to these higher income early adopters and will appreciate the ability to target their messages to niche audiences.
As more people adopt this new model for selecting and viewing downloadable TV content, they will be more discerning in their choices of entertainment and news sources. They will add more diverse sources and will prune away content that resembles today’s shocking sound bites. Our society will evolve.
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