Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Apple TV May Happen After All

So, the oldest rumor in the IPTV world has resurfaced. Apple is, according to the WSJ, going to launch an IPTV service towards the end of the year. This time it seems to have most of the major networks in the US on board with ABC, CBS and Fox all set to become part of the service. However, Comcast is not in the picture after recent spats between the companies.

A single app that works across all Apple devices will undoubtedly be popular and provide the company with a platform on which to build. This may seem a high risk strategy for the channels, but since they are also the producers and rights holders for most of the content, unless Apple decided to use it massive cash mountain to produce original programming, they feel relatively safe.

The problem content providers have is that they are damned if they do and damned if they don't. They produce lots and lots of content no one is very interested in and a few shows that everyone clamors after. Monetizing the former is a numbers game and the TV industry is very inefficient in how it manages its assets and the returns achieved on their programming investments. But this is the kind of efficiency internet companies know all about.

Netflix has played a very successful balancing act between having a lot of so-so content and a few highlights, many of their own making. To date, despite its success in the music industry, Apple has never seen itself as a content owner, but then, once upon a time neither did Google nor Amazon. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out: crowds of people walking busy high streets staring intently at the latest show on their Apple Watch, perhaps? Or has Apple got designs on the large screen market too ?