[opendtv] Re: Analysis: Should Apple Buy Hollywood?

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2012 12:16:18 -0500

At 5:00 PM -0600 2/8/12, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:

I'm still not getting what you are driving at.

First, the response to Dan has to be, as he knows better than me, if you want to be noticed on the Internet you need to go to a site (or sites?) that aggregates enough of your type of content to reach a "critical mass." If the UNLV TV station gets almost lost in a cable system, it will most likely become even more lost over the Internet. Unless it waves a big flag, along with other similar university/PBS stations, perhaps?

Dan was talking about UNLV Internet streaming services, not programming that is available via the MVPDs or Broadcast. The statement was that "nobody can find it."

But you seem to agree that some form of aggregation and promotion may be necessary for viewers to find content that is NOT part of the Cable/DBS/Broadcast universe. Unfortunately, when certain companies try to do this you cry foul and say they are "just another walled garden"

The response to you is, I'm assuming that you consider "solutions" like AppleTV or GoogleTV to be the answer? What makes you think that creating another bottleneck, along the same lines as MVPDs, would be any different? What makes you think that Apple, Google, or even your ISP, can resist taking payments from those with deep pockets, any more than your MVPD does? What makes you think that AppleTV and Google's TV search engine won't become hopelessly biased to those same congloms?


You may believe it is wrong the way that Google monetized the search business, but in general, consumers have not objected. It is one thing to "advantage" search results in return for compensation, quite another to intentionally block other results that compete with your customers. I have not found that Google has done the latter.

Your concerns about Apple are even less credible. Apple has fundamentally changed the way two businesses operate, tearing down walls rather than building them. The music oligopoly has not been "busted" but they no longer can dictate that we buy music in price inflated "bundles." One of the reasons that iTunes is the largest retailer of music in the world today is that it has greatly enhanced the ability of consumers to FIND music they like.

iTunes is no more a walled garden than Amazon or other online music retailers - it is a store that aggregates content and provides the consumer with the ability to easily find what they want and to pay ONLY for what they want.

Remember the mobile phone business before the iPhone changed the rules?

The telcos wanted to control every aspect of what you could do with a phone and to monetize every desirable feature. At least you were rightly skeptical about the Qualcom Flo subscription TV service. Just look at the multi-billion dollar market for Apps that has developed thanks to tearing down a significant portion of the telco oligopoly walls.

I have very little concern about Apple (or Google for that matter) creating a TV experience that builds upon the bundling that exists today for quality TV content. If ANYONE can make ala carte a reality, I'll place my bets on Apple.

The only conclusion I can come to is, you want to limit choice over the Internet. But allowing any middleman to limit Internet choice is no different from re-creating the MVPD experience, and crippling the Internet.

No Bert I do not want to limit choice. I want independent producers to be able to reach a wide marketplace in much the same way that software developers are prospering thanks to the new APP economy.

Maybe looking at this from a slightly different perspective will help you.

I can see a day in the not too distant future, where a content creator will be able to aggregate a large audience via direct Internet "sales." And I can see broadcasters negotiating with these new entrepreneurs for the broadcast rights to this content. It is about shifting the balance of power back to the content creators, where it belongs.

My position is straightforward and consistent. Stay away from all of them. Use general purpose search engines, insist on access to the entire WWW, and be vigilant about hanky-panky between your ISP and TV content owners (not to mention any other creator of Internet content), and let the content owners of all stripes set up their own portals.

Yes, you are consistent to a fault. But I think we both share similar goals - to free the content and let real markets develop and thrive.


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