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

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2012 11:20:24 -0500

At 5:19 PM -0600 1/30/12, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
Craig Birkmaier wrote:

 I do not necessarily agree that Apple could break the stranglehold of
 the media oligopoly by developing its own content for ala carte
 distribution, but the idea is certainly worth discussing...

The point of the article was more that Apple should buy Hollywood, not that Apple should develop content on their own.

What article did you read?

The author started with the premise that Apple has enough money to buy Hollywood, but quickly smashed that idea:

"But it is very unlikely Apple would just snap up all the major media companies. It would be a post-acquisition mess, not to mention the antitrust issues it would raise. No, all Apple needs to do is take a few billion dollars of that cash and start licensing the rights to stream first-run TV shows and movies. It could easily compete with cable. It needs to compete with cable if it truly wants to build a TV replacement."

To which my immediate reaction was, it would only make matters far worse. Not so much "frying pan to fire," but rather we'd go from multiple content owners competing among themselves to one closed ecosystem.

A good analysis IF Apple were actually interested in "Buying Hollywood." But this is clearly not in the cards, as the author noted.

But developing its own content, just as the Hollywood studios do is quite another matter. And such a move would probably cause Bert's head to explode.


He would no longer be able to say that ALL content owners should be able to do whatever they want with their content. Apple would be different because "their" walled garden is only accessible to devices that rely on the Apple ecosystem.

Never mind that HBO, Showtime and most of the cable networks license content that is ONLY available to cable subscribers using proprietary set top boxes.

 Imagine any show or movie on demand on your TV, way beyond what is
 available in iTunes now. There is no program guide, no schedule.
 Everything is there, organized according to your taste or what's
 popular that day.

Yup. And this can be done without introducing any monopolistic third parties. No AppleTV empire, no GoogleTV empire. Just let the content owners figure out their own business models, and let them worry about making those business models workable. They ought to know how - it's their revenues at stake.

Perhaps Bert can answer a simple question:

Why do TV content owners currently rely on the closed ecosystem of the broadcast networks and cable?

I'm not talking about content that is developed and owned by the five big media conglomerates. I'm talking about all the independent producers who have little choice but to cut deals with the media conglomerates, since they control distribution.

And maybe he can answer another question:

Why don't independent producers just create their own content portals and stream their content, either for a fee, or "free" with embedded ads?

For example, do musicians really need the labels or iTunes to promote and sell their music?


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