Opinion: Page (1) of 2 - 10/26/05 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at MyDmn.com).print page facebook

Content Undercover: Video iPod and The Art of the Deal

Every dream has a price -- Oliver Stone's "Wall Street" By Miles Weston

?Every Dream Has a Price  -- Oliver Stones Wall Street

Apple CEO Steve Jobss announcement of an ?experiment into video content delivery with the new video-enabled iPod is nothing new, nothing earthshaking.  His announcement of a video iTunes database ?experiment is nothing new. Disney CEO Bob Igers announcement that his company will offer some of the most popular TV shows as ?pay-for-play downloads the day after their appearance is nothing to write home about.

?Life all comes down to a few moments. This is one of them. -- Charlie Sheen as Bud Fox in Wall Street

It is the complexity, the simplicity, the elegance of the deal.  It is a shift in the time/space continuum.  It is a paradigm shift that will affect, change and influence the direction and actions of the PC/CE and entertainment industries.

In this instance it isnt about the pixels?its about connecting the dots!

Jobs has had a beautiful run with iPod and iTunes.  It has changed the way ordinary people think about, interact with and use their music.  The closely intertwined two have shaken the foundation of the RIAA which is trying desperately to deal with the new landscape, the brave new content world that gives both musicians and their audience freedom of choice.

Former Disney CEO Eisner and Jobs butted heads big time over the Disney/Pixar relationship.  The egos of both parties wouldnt allow a deal no matter how much money was exchanged by either organization.  New Disney CEO Iger enters and the playing field has changed.  Now two parties can discuss without animosity, with no prior history. 

The slate is clean and both firms can again talk!

In addition to a movie relationship which both parties dearly want and need, Disney has other assets which have huge potential?ABC TV and its years of television content sitting in dusty warehouses.

?I don't throw darts at a board. I bet on sure things. Read Sun-tzu, The Art of War. Every battle is won before it is ever fought.  Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street

The two -- Iger and Jobs -- didnt just sit down to make a minor news event splash.  They developed a scheme, a plan, a program that could prod the entertainment change.  But they didnt play small by rolling out some old tired movies or TV series for people to buy/download onto their video-enabled iPods.  Iger led with his best cards, the networks leading TV series  Desperate Housewives and Lost  to produce audience appeal and jump-start a lifestyle change.

In return Iger received????

A little bit of incremental TV series content sales?

Of course he did! 

A renewed relationship with Pixar and Disney for future movie, entertainment content?

Certainly he did! 

Jobs has already proven his company/people can control content and attract an audience with huge music downloads.  Ok, so the Rokr phone didnt rock the world but it wasnt a new announcement, rather a somewhat weak product extension that will certainly be enhanced in its future generations.  It didnt succeed wildly but it also didnt eat into the iPod/iTunes market.

The joint announcement showed that Apple can now become a content delivery mechanism for video entertainment management, control and distribution.  Even if the relationship with Disneys ABC TV is to provide them with an ?unfair share of the download sale profits on the first offering, he wins because he has established the benchmark offering for the future.

Want to play in tomorrows video-my-way, my-time future?  Lets talk.

?The most valuable commodity I know of is information.  -- Michael Douglas as Gekko in Wall Street.

Why should consumers struggle with an ongoing payment to TiVo and be concerned that the company is tracking their viewing habits just so they can watch their favorite TV show when they want?  Why should they bother with a TiVo or a PVR to time shift and delete the ads?  Cripes, for $2?less than a latte?they can download the show they forgot to record last night and watch tonight, tomorrow night, this weekend?whenever, wherever!  

Disney has already seen Apples track record on handling digital rights management when it comes to music and tens of millions of people around the globe are ?ok with it?not completely happy, but ok. 

Microsoft looks with lust at the music control/management that Apple has nurtured and grown.  RIAA and music studio executives spend sleepless nights trying to determine the long-term impact of the iTunes/iPod phenomenon and how they can protect their livelihood, their futures.  MP3 player producers join forces with Real, Napster, Amazon and the others in an attempt to eat from the same trough. 

Its a tough, expensive uphill battle but a little progress has been made.

Suddenly, though Iger and Jobs have moved to new, more expensive, more profitable hills, for the time being?the big dogs rule.

But hey?its only a video ?experiment.  There is certainly nothing to be concerned about unless?

 

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Related Keywords:Steve Jobs, video content delivery, iPod, video iTunes, Disney, Bob Iger, TV shows, pay-for-play, downloads, MPAA

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