Anything to Fear From Apple?

9:25 AM -- News today is that Apple is pitching a $30/month iTunes subscription for video service, which would presumably provide unlimited on-demand access to the thousands of TV show and movie titles in its iTunes store. Is it truly something to fear or just more over-the-top video noise? My early vote is noise, with a caveat.

You obviously think about the potential impact of such a product on telcoTV and cable cord cutting. But realistically, it’s only discussions at this point -- far from a well defined product. Beyond that, I question whether cable networks and other programmers are seriously interested in helping to destroy the traditional subscription TV model. They generate billions in fees from it. Why would they forsake that, in the hopes that this over-the-top video thing might work out?

Here comes my caveat. There is something to be said for hedging your bets. There certainly is a population of consumers that will migrate away from the subscription model, or never take it to begin with. Who better to court that crowd than Apple? They have a track record and 65 million iTunes users.

Products like a potential iTunes video subscription will have their place, and will affect the traditional video model, perhaps in a profound way. But they won’t replace it. They’ll help to keep telcoTV and cable providers honest -- constantly evolving and innovating that tried and proven subscription video model. Don’t look for it to go anywhere, anytime soon.

— Bernardin Arnason, Managing Partner, Pivot Group , and Chairman, TelcoTV 2009

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to TelcoTV 2009, the telecom industry’s premier event for the exploration of a comprehensive entertainment convergence strategy, to be staged in Orlando, Fla., November 10-12. For more information, or to register, click here.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 3:53:04 PM
re: Anything to Fear From Apple?

 If Apple's pitching a subscription video product focused on on-demand access to itunes, I'm wondering if they're  also thinking about bringing in some live TV, too, to help complete the cable cord-cutting scenario.  Maybe it's AppleTV plus a digital over the air tuner to bring in local HD broadcast signals. 

Or if cable video cord-cutting isn't the direct aim, anyone think Apple might consider adding a cablecard slot for linear cable digital video tiers, plus access to premiums like HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc.? Just throwing that idea out there...but it seems like a very unlikely, up-Apple-y thing to do. Jeff


pivotmedia 12/5/2012 | 3:53:02 PM
re: Anything to Fear From Apple?

Good points Jeff. I would think Apple may have a two prong strategy. One that helps them sell their own Apple branded STB and another to get on other boxes. Too bad there's still bad blood between Apple and Micrrosfot. iTunesTV seems like the perfect app for the Xbox. If they get this done, perhaps they approach Roku and Sony.

Sign In