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Study Says No Future for Video iTunes 189

eldavojohn writes "Reuters is running a story on a study that claims "Online video sites that sell shows and movies such as Apple Inc.'s iTunes will likely peak this year as more programming is made available on free outlets supported by advertising." Many channels have wised up to offering their content hosted from their own sites for free — with commercials — to cut out iTunes as the middle man. End result? Predictions that services like iTunes-Video have no future."
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Study Says No Future for Video iTunes

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  • No future for DVDs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2007 @10:58AM (#19114171)
    There's television!
    • weak science (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:30AM (#19114717)
      There was a time in our history when the world-as-you-knew-it was the same one that your parents knew, and would be the same one that your children would know. The division of social classes, their economic wants, their means of fulfilling those wants, their cultural values, etc., did not change over one, two, or even three generations. In that environment, the concept of the "economic man," and the whole business of making predictions based on the science of economics, had some genuine effectiveness to it.

      In these times, all the above listed factors change every decade. Not only do we know very little about what world our children will face, we know very little about what our own values, needs, and means will be in the next ten years. Because of this rapid pace of change, by the time any sort of economic model has enough data upon which to base predictions, all the data no longer apply.

      Therefore, as far as I am concerned, all such analysis are little more than crystal-ball review.

      The risk-takers are the ones who shape our world from one decade to the next, and the unknowns are just too high to say with confidence which risks are worth taking. There are no safe investments, but the betting window never closes.

    • totally off (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jj13 ( 974374 )
      Has anyone realized that apple doesn't make much of a profit from the content offered on it's itunes store? If apple is offering all this content simply to push the sales of ipods, macs (and now appletvs) where there IS a lot of profit, why shouldn't apple start offering free video downloads that are ad-supported, with additional drm such that you can't fast-forward while a commercial is on screen? or maybe just make you watch a short ad (not even necessarily embedded in the video file) before you can watch
      • Re:totally off (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @02:21PM (#19117961)
        Yeah, and one thing Apple brings to the table: centralization of the content. It'd be a pain in the butt if I had to wade through 2 dozen different website, all with different layouts, and possibly different file formats, to watch the shows I want.

        With Apple, I open iTunes, search, buy what I want, and play it.

        Of course, I really do wish that Apple would port the application and service to Linux. I've actually got a Mac, a Linux box, and a Windows machine (and several others scattered about) at home, and I'd like to be able to access my media from whichever I'm using at the time.
  • I don't think so (Score:5, Insightful)

    by llamalad ( 12917 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @10:59AM (#19114189)
    I can't be the only one who'd rather pay a couple of bucks to watch without commercials...
    • by blackjackshellac ( 849713 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:02AM (#19114249)
      Yes you are, and we all know why!

      Nice try Gates!
    • iTunes seems to be quite a success despite free music downloads and subsidized music in the form of radio. I don't see why videos would be any different.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by nomadic ( 141991 ) *
        The difference is that itunes music is very close in terms of quality to CD music. There's a much bigger difference between 480p video and 720p or 1080p video; once blu-ray and/or HD-DVD becomes ubiquitous, I don't think many people are going to stick with itunes. Obviously they can increase the quality but I don't think a large percentage of potential customers have the bandwidth to make it worth it to download videos like that.
        • Have you seen the videos on The difference between the videos and iTunes videos is like night and day. I'm probably one of the least picky people about my video quality, but even I think that looks significantly worse than your average CRT television. It reminds me of watching television with rabbit ears, only worse.
          • Ah, but what's better, NBC via your cable/satellite/whatever hookup or NBC video via iTunes on your Apple TV?
            • Actually, iTunes vs. Digital Cable is almost 1 for 1. Especially if you're still using COAX to the back of an SDTV. The only time Digital Cable has a clear win is if the channel is in HD. If you still have analog cable, then iTunes wins for having double the vertical resolution. Any compression artifacts that you may see (which are actually quite rare or non-noticeable on iTunes) are far better to look at than the blurry state of 480i resolution. :-)
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by peragrin ( 659227 )
          If a dedicated server setup like Itunes can't keep up with the quality what makes you think comedy Central or NBC can? I purchase shows from iTunes whenever I miss an episode in a story arc. The end display quality is usually better than what I can record on my computer directly from the TV broadcast.

          HD content though can only be done with HD, and therefore is worse than regular broadcasts
        • by rbanffy ( 584143 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:13PM (#19115433) Homepage Journal
          You know... My first internet connection was on two leased line 9600 bps modems. We had a Siemens server running SINIX and a couple graphical workstations running Collage. My first post-web home connection was my trusty 14400 US Robotics I already used for BBSs. I still have it and it still works.

          Of course, it was before the web.

          In ten years, my home internet connection became five hundred times fatter. If we disconsider clever compression techniques that could be invented in the meantime, we can imagine that a 10-fold increase would be required for HD movies to be feasible.

          Just seeing how fast broadband was adopted here in Brazil (first at 256Kbps and these days in the Mbps-range) accompanied by a sharp drop in prices, I can't imagine not having a link fat enough for HD content delivery in 5 years.

          People tend to forget that whoever offers video subsidized by commercials will do whatever they can to prevent you from skipping them.

          I think that the videos you will be able to purchase on iTunes will still cater to the normal Apple audience: those who can pay a little more for a whole lot more convenience.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ajs318 ( 655362 )
      Sixty million Britons do exactly that.

      Although, only the BBC channels are advert-free. And you have to pay for the BBC channels, even if you only want the non-BBC channels. (They could have fixed this by broadcasting BBC programmes scrambled and requiring a viewing card; the transition to digital television would have been the perfect opportunity to introduce this. I am currently awaiting a response from my MP as to why this was not done.)
      • "And you have to pay for the BBC channels, even if you only want the non-BBC channels"

        But would you actually want to? Unless you like endless big brother (which apparently is restarting soon, god dammit!), ITV Play and the crap they have on the commercial channels, the current system is optimal imho. Sure, some claim they watch Sky TV or cable exclusively for a while, but sooner or later everyone realises that brain cells need companions and so end up switching back to watching mainly terrestrial channels.
      • (They could have fixed this by broadcasting BBC programmes scrambled and requiring a viewing card; the transition to digital television would have been the perfect opportunity to introduce this. I am currently awaiting a response from my MP as to why this was not done.)

        I hope you have several good books and a grain of salt handy, since I'm sure you're in for quite a wait before you get some silly justification. Why would your MP answer with the truth, which is, "That would reduce revenues to the point that

      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )
        And you have to pay for the BBC channels, even if you only want the non-BBC channels.

        And why wouldn't you want to do that, when you're paying for a corporation with such journalistic integrity []?
    • by jma05 ( 897351 )
      The only shows I watch now are Comedy Central's political satires. 8 shows per week. $16 dollars per week. $64/month. No thanks. That is way more expensive than cable and Tivo. I am all for paid downloads of ad-free shows. But I am not prepared to pay $2 for a 30 min show. It just adds up very quickly. I would be happy to pay $15/month and be willing to take hosting heat off providers through something like Joost.

      PS: I am not on Windows now and am only quoting the price from memory.
    • I can't be the only one who'd rather pay a couple of bucks to watch without commercials...

      The continued viability of premium cable channels despite the availability of free, advertising-supported broadcasts, suggests that there are more than a handful of people willing to pay money to watch video without advertising even where free, advertising supported alternatives exist.
  • Lame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:00AM (#19114197) Homepage Journal
    Let me see. I can go to and watch a show in horrendously low quality with annoying commercials, or I can spend $1.99 a week to watch the same show in H.234 480p with no commerical interruptions. Oh, and I can collect the seasons and watch them whenever I want.

    Seriously, this doesn't make any sense. And can television stations really say that they make more money per viewer with commercials than they do with iTunes downloads? As far as I see, the episodes on are carrots intended to get viewers hooked on the shows. The quality is intentionally limited so as to convince new viewers to tune in on television or iTunes.
    • "No Future" (Score:4, Interesting)

      by PIPBoy3000 ( 619296 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:18AM (#19114503)
      I think it's pretty obvious that downloaded shows make a lot of sense at the moment. So do DVDs of shows - it's convenient and you can use them offline.

      Imagine a future, though, where wireless broadband is cheap and ubiquitous. Subscription websites generally do poorly and people are willing to sit through advertising in order to get something they want for free. If I can tab to another web site during commercials, I probably don't care that things are delayed for a couple minutes.

      Eventually, the issue will be about time. Some people's time is valuable enough that they'll purchase the DVD or download the series. For the masses, the commercial approach is fine for them. Personally, I think it's good to have choices.
      • by catbutt ( 469582 )
        Except that if you can "tab to another web site" during commercials, and everyone else can (enough people to justify the point you are making), then they won't make enough money off the commercials. So they will make the commercials longer, superimpose them on the show so you can't miss them, etc.
    • I can take the Itunes video and watch it on my IPod, or watch it on my AppleTV. Well, in my case I don't have an AppleTV, but I hook my MacBook up to the TV and use the handy remote control and do things that way. I've watched video through's site before and the quality is decent, but I have to be at my computer to do it. Watching it on my TV isn't practical and I can't take it with me. It's okay if I want to catch up on a series and not pay $2 an episode.

      Frankly what I hope to have some day is
    • Let me see. I can pay $1.99 a week to watch a show in horrendously low quality 480P or I can record NBC HD programming at 1080i over the air for free and I can skip all commercials. Oh, and I can collect the season and watch them whenever I want.

      Seriously, this doesn't make any sense. Why pay for something when you can get it for free with MUCH better quality? TV is not like music. The Network content is available freely over the air. Why pay for something that is already free?
      • by cmarkn ( 31706 )
        This is what the movie cartel is complaining about as they try to make sure that all HD content has Digital Rights Infringement built into it, and all HD equipment be broken by design to enforce the infringement. When they finish buying congresscritters, you won't be able to record many programs in HD, and those that you can will have built-in expiration after a short time. So it won't have any advantage over the iTunes version.
  • by Hao Wu ( 652581 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:02AM (#19114229) Homepage
    I would pay iTunes substantially more to watch programs without commercials or movie trailers.

    • Actually, iTunes shows are not without commercials. Many of the shows have commercials embedded in the movie file. What they are is without commercial interruptions. Commercials are placed on the tail end of the video where you can choose to watch them or shut off the playback. This is vastly superior to the DVD solution of, "you MUST watch these commercials every time you turn on this DVD."

      I don't know about anyone else, but I actually like seeing occasional advertisements. Especially things like movie trailers and new show promotions. My problem is that I don't like being forced to watch them repetitively. iTunes gives you the best of both worlds in that respect, and in a way that is unlikely to offend the die-hard anti-commericalists. (Dare I say it? Anti-commercial Nazis?)
      • by syphax ( 189065 )

        I am very pleased with the location and duration of advertising on, say, iTunes downloads for The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. Very limited and at the end.

        I don't have cable, so iTunes is the only legit channel I have for some shows. Other than the DRM garbage, and the erratic timing with which the videos are released after airing, I am generally pleased with the arrangement.

  • by TheSciBoy ( 1050166 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:02AM (#19114245)
    For my money it could go either way. Yes, people are worried that the movies they buy won't work on their device. Probably to the point where they won't even try it once. This can be helped by offering a 3-minute preview of the show in question in the exact format of the purchaseable file, for example. This is an obstacle that can be overcome.

    However, IF you can watch the same thing for free, with similar quality, only the irritant of commercials remain. However, this is a big irritant and I think most people would skip them if possible. As long as people are able to skip the commercials somehow, then the free option will prevail, however, the providers will never stand for this.

    Buying content will allow people to play said content on portable devices. Commercials fed services will have to be streaming to keep the user from skipping commercials. So, different users will want different kinds of content.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fermion ( 181285 )
      I see one big reason why we won't have commercial supported internet television. Bandwidth. Broadcast television works because it scales well. Once a provider has secured the rights and paid for the infrastructure to broadcast a signal, the costs for additional customers are often not significant. On the other hand, for internet television each new customer required a fixed amount of bandwidth, which must be paid for. Some of that bandwidth cost might be externalized, but that will only make the fixed
  • ughh yeah, mmm-kay (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:04AM (#19114293) Journal
    Why do people insist that the world be black or white; beta or VHS; HD-DVD or BlueRay?

    What the author should have said is that iTunes perhaps has yet to find the video market content that targets it's user base. Just because content providers are finding that they get more benefit by not having a middle man for distribution does not mean there is no room in the market place for what iTMS has to offer... or any other content distributor, can you say YouTube or others like it?

    While CBS, NBC, BBC et al can find profit in distributing their own content, it is aggregaters that will create 'channels' that users will be willing to subscribe to. Just like broadcasting companies of years gone by, it will be aggregation channels that people end up watching.

    Already there are too many web sites with video content and too much content for the average user to keep up with. In the end, due mostly to operator overload, users will end up just watching their 'favorite' channels of video content on the Internet. Just like there are different Internet radio stations because of taste and ease of use, video channels will emerge as the 'new tv' networks. People are often just like sheep wanting someone else to tell them what to watch. This societal effect will make its mark on Internet video content too.

    The good news in this story? Content creators are seeing that they don't need a distribution company for the Internet. Perhaps musicians will see this too and wriggle out of their contracts to start putting more music content out there without the RIAA tax.
  • by packetmon ( 977047 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:05AM (#19114297) Homepage
    I could see them making a nice chuck of change. Think about the amount of travelers alone who have iPod's... Imagine a USB based kiosk at an airport with movies for downloads. Or... Even a USB next to your chair which would allow you to rent/buy movies at will... How many people get on a plain/train each day... All you need is a fraction to buy a movie. Its apparent whoever wrote the article is not thinking out of the box.
  • Congratulations! Someone's on a roll. Now, please go see the folks at HBO and tell them how wrong they've been all this time. ;)
  • Disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jshriverWVU ( 810740 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:12AM (#19114409)
    It's one thing sitting at your desk and getting to watch a TV show, and syncing it with a mobile device and watching it during your lunch hour at work. If I'm home I'll watch it on TV, but if I dont have time and want to watch it whenever I want from wherever I want then a video ipod sounds nice. So there will be a market for it. Plus I'd rather pay a couple bucks for on-demand ad free content then free and usable only via the web with ads.
    • by catbutt ( 469582 )
      I don't think the author implied that the various solutions would force you to sit at your computer and watch them rather than watching on your tv.
    • exactly. I can't stand watching flash based mini shows on my computer. I would rather download the content and watch it on my tv, than watch a tiny box on my computer screen.
    • by yuna49 ( 905461 )
      There are already portable video players (or "video ipods") that can record television programs. My Cowon A2 [] even has timer recording so it can work like a DVR. If you have something that produces composite video (the familiar yellow RCA plug with its red and white audio counterparts), you can push the signal into the Cowon. I'm pretty sure Archos makes similar products, and maybe Creative does as well.

      These devices all come with 16:9 screens these days as well. My Cowon plays Divx/Xvid at resolutions u
  • Short positions? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gary W. Longsine ( 124661 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:12AM (#19114413) Homepage Journal
    I sometimes wonder if stories like this (or the breathless "iPhone is gonna generate more revenue than a patent on oral sex" stories) are intended to briefly move the stock price one way or another. It would be interesting to study the AAPL movements against key announcement, headlines, rumors and actual performance. I supose we wouldn't learn much, only confirm our intuition that headlines and rumors affect the short term and performance affects the long term, but it might be fun.
    • by jfengel ( 409917 )
      AAPL is up .32% at the moment, on a day when the NASDAQ is down the same amount and the Dow is up .2%. So on a see-a-point-draw-a-line basis, I'd have to say there's nothing better for Apple stock than negative articles about their prospects.

      Headlines do move stocks, but not little one-shot things like this. The market dismisses study articles like this one. There may be some investor who says, "Some research analyst says it's gonna tank? Get me outta that!" but it's less influential than, say, an upgra
    • by Have Blue ( 616 )
      Of course headlines and announcements affect the stock market. But there's a world of difference between "the headline affects the stock price", which is natural market behavior, and "the headline is intentionally worded and timed to affect the stock price a certain way", which is illegal.
  • by 955301 ( 209856 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:13AM (#19114425) Journal
    My time is valuable to me. My friends value their time as well. Tivo's value is not just time shifting, but also cutting out crap. If I have to pay Apple a premium to do this for me and watch only a few shows because of the cost, to me that's better than watching crapisode after crapisode put only solely for the purpose of having something to insert commercials into. And if I feed the demand for something which competes against AdverCrapIsodes(r) it's a bonus.

    In my little world, this guy is off target.

    People pay to get their time & choice back.
    • I have friends all over the world who record my favorite shows, expunge the commercials, and let me borrow them! I don't pay a cent except for bandwidth, and if I like the show enough I'll buy the DVDs to support the artists (Venture Brothers, maybe the next Simpsons set, Family Guy, etc...).

      It works great, just like asking your neighbor to tape your favorite shows when you go on vacation.

      Oh...the bad part is, the media companies can't make any money off of it.
  • by tim90402 ( 1040444 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:14AM (#19114431)
    Was just looking at a list of the top 10 spenders on advertising. 4 of them are media companies (Time-Warner, Disney, GE (NBC), and News Corp) and 3 are telco's (ATT, Verizon, Sprint). If all of their products are going to be free, who will be left to buy ads?
    • by jimicus ( 737525 )
      Their products are free to the consumer. Subject to one or two provisos.

      Disney buys advertising ("Own The Little Hans Christian Andersen Rip-Off on DVD Today!") but they also sell advertising on their own channels. Same goes for Time-Warner, NBC, Fox and more or less any television station the world over.

      And when another TV network, either in the US or elsewhere, shows a Disney cartoon or a Fox show, Disney/Fox/Insert Company Here gets paid.

      You can be reasonably certain they'll also be selling ads. What,
  • One stop shopping (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Generic Guy ( 678542 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:20AM (#19114527)

    Many channels have wised up to offering their content hosted from their own sites for free -- with commercials

    I'm not sure they've taken every aspect into account. While 'free' sounds good, I'm pretty sure people don't want to hunt all around different sites, all with different viewing/codec requirements, all with different site logins and other logisitcal hoops, just to find something they might want to watch.

    On the contrary, I believe sites that will survive which can collect the most shows/movies from all the content providers in one place, all with short previews, all encoded reliabily the same. While the 'Net allows for wild west style secluded towns for each studio, it doesn't have staying power. People tend to prefer a centralized distributor they can count on.

    iTune's biggest issue IMHO is that they need more studios to supply content in order to make them a one-stop shop. The studios need to get past this walled garden idea.

  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:21AM (#19114533) Homepage Journal
    First of all, how many fucking idiots in the world are there that write studies and articles like this? EVERYTHING IS NOT BINARY! THERE DOES NOT ALWAYS HAVE TO BE ONE WINNER AND ONE LOSER! FUCK!!!!!

    The Internet has not replaced TV. TV did not replace radio or the movies. Movies and radio did not replace stage shows. Smartphones have not replaced PDAs. Etc etc etc. Can't ONE FUCKING JOURNALIST accept the fact that some things will just stay around?!? Sheesh.

    Now, on to the actual premise of TFA: I love that ABC and others are making their content available online. HOWEVER, I do NOT like that I've got to fire up a browser and watch shows streaming. I *want* to be able to download shows and watch them with no de[[[buffering]]]lays, and watch them over and over, and skip around with no delay, and be able to watch it some day in the future when ABC quits hosting the file, etc etc etc. I don't like buying video from iTunes--the fact that it can NEVER be watched without a) a computer, b) an AppleTV, or c) an iPod pretty much kills it for me--but I like watching shows in a browser on my so-so Internet connection even less.

    Long story short: this will NOT be the end of iTunes. Hint to fucktard "journalist"/"researcher" #42571: TiVos and videotapes ALSO render iTunes obsolete--but it's still around. Get a fucking clue. Douchebag.
    • by isaac ( 2852 )

      TV did not replace radio or the movies. Movies and radio did not replace stage shows. Smartphones have not replaced PDAs.

      On planet Earth, these things did happen for the most part. TV turned radio into a niche product for the car and the clock radio where it had been the dominant mass medium and home entertainment. The movies did replace stage shows, literally - vaudeville houses became movie theatres practically en masse; the corpse of theatre as mass popular entertainment (Broadway) is just a tourist attr

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sootman ( 158191 )
        The author says iTunes-like content is a "dead end." None of my examples are dead. They've all gone down, to be sure, but none are dead, or even close. There are PDAs all over the shelves at Circuit City, Best Buy, Office Depot, etc etc etc. I live in a medium-sized city and there are two or three dozen radio stations, and I hear it in every mall, gas station, office, etc. Don't underestimate the amount of time people spend in cars--"drive time" made Howard Stern a millionaire many times over. My reference
  • "Many channels have wised up to offering their content hosted from their own sites for free -- with commercials"

    Wised up - just like that, eh?.

    Yesterday they couldn't unwrap a corndog and now they've figured it all out and they've got iTunes on the run.

    The such a funny place....isn't it...?

    I mean, I'm always keen to see things work out for others. And I love the serendipitous nature of this whirlwind we call 'now'. But who among us would have not been taken by surprise to see the wor
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Seriously. If the history of media tells us anything, it's that people by and large prefer to own their content. Hence the success of VCRs. Hence the success of DVD box sets. Advertising supported streaming will appeal to some subset of viewers who just want to be able to catch an episode they missed, but I highly doubt it will cut into the Video iTunes market in any meaningful way. The services are barely even comparable. One chains you to your computer to watch, gives you little opportunity to ffw,
  • If there is anything that will put a dent in Itunes its Joost, solid concept, network backing and the creators have a track record of creating stuff that stirs up some dust in the industry (
  • by awb131 ( 159522 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:28AM (#19114691)
    Starting four years ago, I had a Dish network subscription plus a TiVo. I haven't seen a TV commercial since, except for the rare occasions I was doing something and couldn't get to the fast forward button. Two months ago, I realized:

    1. I really don't watch too much other than movies and a couple of TV shows that are available on iTunes. I definitely never watched anything when it was actually being broadcast -- usually several days later.
    2. The total monthly cost of these things is more than my motorcycle payment.
    3. I could get a Netflix subscription, buy the entire seasons of the shows on iTunes, give up nothing, and save a few hundred bucks a year.

    So I cancelled the satellite, unplugged the TiVo, and haven't really missed them since (except when my girlfriend is over and wants to watch something; all that's hooked up to the TV now is a DVD player and the XBOX 360.)

    I call shenanigans on this study.
    • If it weren't for my wife, I could do the same thing. Problem is, she watches so much crap on her TiVo that isn't available on d/l or fixed media it would never work. My daughter could live on packaged programs and movies, and I almost never watch TV except for movies and some shows which are available on disc by the time I get around to viewing them. For the $700 we spend on programming, we could buy a lot of fixed media or downloads.

      Actually, now that I come to think of it, maybe we could get by with the
    • by Stamen ( 745223 )
      Before my wife, then my girlfriend, moved in, I had a similar setup and it was great; she enjoys the cable.

      I'm not going to lie and say something like "I just watch a few hours a week, and only education shows on PBS". I probably don't watch the average of 4 hours a day of TV that most Americans do, but I watch my fair share. In my humble opinion TV is producing some of the best content right now (I'd rather watch a night of Lost or 6 Feet Under DVDs than many movies).

      What worked great for me is no cable/
      • Before my wife, then my girlfriend, moved in, I had a similar setup and it was great; she enjoys the cable.

        I have found it is better to have the girlfriend move in before the wife. Having the wife move in AFTER the girlfriend can cause all sorts of female rivalry. But I do have to give you kudos on pulling it off!

  • ABC's got it right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:33AM (#19114759)
    Like many viewers I can't watch regular tv anymore. Too many commercials. At I can watch 43 minutes of Lost with 3 separate 30 second commercial breaks for free and at a pretty good resolution. 30 seconds is short enough that I generally don't leave during the breaks (good for the advertisers) and a total of 90 seconds of commercials is a minimal distraction from the show. I occasionally buy 24 from iTunes because it's not available for free online (legally) and the quality doesn't seem any better.
  • by zentec ( 204030 ) * <zentec AT gmail DOT com> on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:34AM (#19114793)
    What the networks have been failing to grasp (and many here have mentioned) is that there is not going to be just one method of distribution. The spate of technology has empowered the viewer to watch on their own terms, and the content creators would be making a drastic mistake to bet on one technology edging out the other. Some people will want to watch it on the AppleTV, and some people will be happy to download it with their media PCs while others will hang in there with their Tivo. Many more will elect to watch it on their iPods or tiny cell phone screens while sitting on a train to work (or hopefully, not while driving to work).

    Appointment TV is dead; the networks and broadcasters need to wake up to the fact that everyone showing up in front of their televisions at a set time to watch Idol is becoming as arcane and antiquated as the family life portrayed in 1950's family sitcoms. They need to realize that in order to capture every eyeball, they'll have to distribute it on cable, on the download sites and services for products like AppleTV, on their own web sites, on cellular networks and every other place where they can find eyeballs. To ignore this will simply result in less dollars for them because they are not making their shows available to the largest number of people.
  • If we could play our media for our friends (real ones) online the way we can currently lend the our CDs/DVDs, this whole BS house of copyright cards would collapse. And there would be a lot more transactions, that entrepreneurs could monetize in ways other than just controlling the content. Including a reasonable royalty scheme (not the now more-draconian webcast royalties) that would pay artists better and more directly from their audience.
  • I'll buy from a service that costs about the same as netflix ($2/movie) and lets me burn the show to a standard non-DRMed DVD the same way iTunes costs $1 and lets me burn the song to a standard CD. Services that are more restricted are doomed to failure because lets face it: that's crappy service and as a consumer I'm wise to it.
  • by tji ( 74570 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @11:53AM (#19115095)

    - Convenience. I don't want to hunt around to find the content I'm looking for, deal with different codecs and quality issues, and try to get it working on my Mac (my attempts thus far to view things like the NCAA basketball tournament games, or portions of The Masters, have been wildly unsuccessful.)

    - Viewing Experience. Nobody wants to watch these on their computer. Apple already has the AppleTV, or even Mac Mini as good settop box options.

    - Familiarity. The existing iTMS user base is huge, we already have accounts there and are exposed to the video choices, making it easy to take the leap into video.

    - Integration. There is value in having the option to view the content on my laptop, iPod, as well as my TV -- without jumping through hoops and transcoding. This will be even more important as the next generation of iPods, with iPhone interface and widescreens, become available. having the video on a portable device becomes even more useful / usable.

    I'm not saying iTMS is the pinnacle of multimedia.. but it's the best thing going right now. I am hoping that free/legal options become more common in the future. But, I'm thinking something along the lines of MythTV, except easy to set up and use. Record HDTV programs for free with an antenna, convert them to a good format for use on a variety of devices, and integrate with a nice settop box for TV playback. MythTV can do this today, if you're willing to spend the time/effort and acquire the knowledge necessary. This is definitely an area ripe for a startup.. but it needs to be one that is willing to live without exploiting all the lock-ins that everyone else attempts with this sort of thing.
  • If we are talking about some kind of crappy webbased horrid low resolution crap, who cares? I want it directly to my TV in at least 720p and preferably 1080p with high quality surround sound.

    Besides, iTunes is not the big competitor, the torrent/ftp/etc sites are the big competitors, they have the nuts.
  • The only think that'll completely eliminate the viability of video in iTunes is something that can completely replace the functionality of video in iTunes.

    When I get a video in iTunes, it's so that I can download it onto my video iPod, to watch it on the bus during my commute, or while waiting for my food at a restaurant, et cetera, et cetera.

    I'll give you an example: Heroes. The web site lets you watch episodes for free. I've still bought some episodes via iTunes. Why? The web site used streaming video
  • by Murrdox ( 601048 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:10PM (#19115383)
    As an example on this, let's take myself.

    I love watching LOST, but I am awful about actually sitting down and watching it when it is on TV. I always miss it.

    Back during Season 2, I was still catching up. I really wanted to watch the episodes that I missed. I had missed a lot of them. So, I figured $2 is worth the price of an episode. I went to iTunes, and I bought about 12 episodes of Season 2 to catch up to where I needed to be. It was really cool, the quality was good, and I was pretty happy with it.

    Fast forward to now.

    I still miss LOST regularly, but I don't buy it from iTunes anymore. I go to, and I watch it online. I can watch it in full screen, and I just have to sit through a 30 second commercial a few times per episode. I consider that a free trade, considering that if I was watching it on TV, I'd have to sit through FIVE MINUTES worth of commercials several times per episode.

    The only issue I have with the ABC content is that sometimes the streaming isn't quite fast enough, and the video feed can get locked up. I don't have to deal with that on iTunes. Also, you can only go back 4 episodes. So, if I missed an entire season, I couldn't get it on However, I would imagine that ABC has something in the works to rectify this situation.

    In summary, I'd rather watch a few commercials than pay $2 for an episode if I am given the choice.


    I want to burn the episode to DVD to watch later. THEN I want a high quality digital copy with no commercials, and I'd pay $2 for it. Unfortunately, iTunes doesn't allow you to burn video to DVD, so I can't win on that front at all. If Apple can get rid of the DRM requirement on their downloaded videos, to let you burn them to DVD, I can see a market for them. Otherwise, eventually the free content will win.
  • iTunes vs. cable (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lmpeters ( 892805 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:29PM (#19115703)

    A while ago, I compared the cost of my local cable provider to the cost of iTunes. I figured that the most comparable level of service to iTunes was the one that includes a DVR and a few of the premium channels, which I think cost about $60 per month. Then I looked up on the iTunes Store the shows my family actually watches, and calculated how much each show would cost per month (obviously, I needed to do some conversions, since most shows are sold by the season rather than by the month). I omitted all shows that are in reruns, since I decided that if I were to drop my cable service, I would be more likely get such shows on DVD (either buy them or rent them e.g. via Netflix).

    Some of the shows we watch aren't offered on iTunes (including MythBusters!!!), but when I calculated how much we'd spend if all the shows we watch were offered, I found that the worst-case scenario was still less than half the cost of the comparable cable service. Furthermore, iTunes offers a variety of advantages (no commercials, and we can watch purchased shows whenever we want) that no cable service provides and can't easily be translated to a dollar value.

    My opinion, therefore, is that video through iTunes and similar services, while not as well-developed as video through cable or satellite, has the potential to be a significant competitor to traditional cable or satellite services.

  • So... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lamarguy91 ( 1101967 )
    This will go on/off topic as I stream of thought this, but here goes:

    Why do we even have to pay for television? Look at terrestrial radio: Commercials, talking, etc., but it's free. It's supported by advertising. Why isn't television the same way? Why should I have to pay $40/month for basic cable and still have to be bombarded by crap advertisements and junk I don't want to see? I understand the need to recup the initial hardware fees and such. It costs money to lay cable lines, install outlets in h
  • There's no point reading a study unless you know how likely it is to be accurate. I've never seen any kind of study to find out how accurate they are. So why should I consider this report as anything other than noise?
  • But considering Reuters is openly and for a long time, the official water carriers for EU agenda items it's hard to put too much faith in a 'study' from the folks spending millions of Euros to sue Apple in Europe into obscurity.
  • Netcraft will confirm this within the week.

    Content producers will wonder why they can't get you to pay for the bits WITH commercials, just like how there's commercials on cable TV. Eventually it'll happen.

    Content producers will want you to stream the bits so that you'll have to pay-per-view, won't be able to copy for personal use, excerpt for purposes of commentary, criticism, or parody, or share with friends, or rewind for instant replay.

    People will wonder why they have to pay their cable ISP for internet
  • by Bodrius ( 191265 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:04PM (#19116453) Homepage
    Remember how direct mail orders killed the retail business?
    Companies could cut the middle-man and allow customers to buy from them directly, as long as they were aware of the company, and had their mail address, and were willing to fill up a mail order form and a check and send it to them.


    There is a value proposition in a centralized marketplace for this content - exposure their user base, facilitate impulse buys, all sorts of nice things which include most of the reasons malls still exist.

    Providing the content on their own website has a lot of advantages too - not the least that perhaps people might have a reason to go to

    But the big difference is that they have more leverage to use against the middle-man on negotiations. "Look, it's not like you are our only choice. If we don't like the deal, we'll just take our content home and play by ourselves.".

    This is less in line with "online video stores have no future", and more in line with "CEOs of online video stores may have to stop comparing the children of content-producer executives to ugly-bulldogs-after-a-car-accident".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Remember how direct mail orders killed the retail business? Companies could cut the middle-man and allow customers to buy from them directly, as long as they were aware of the company, and had their mail address, and were willing to fill up a mail order form and a check and send it to them.

      Your's is probably the most direct analogy thus far. Going direct is often a big hassle.

      If we're to go by their thinking, then consumers will have no problem having to figure out which studio or agency owns the righ

  • This is a very strange conclusion considering that such a market battle of this kind has happened plenty of times before and the paid services could always survive and do pretty well.

    I am not sure about the radio stations time, but I think people did pay for tapes even though they could listen to their favorite music for free from the radio stations.

    But in the case of TV I have definitely paid more for cable service over the usual free TV based on ads...

    And well, the fact is that people tend to like qu

  • by SnowDog74 ( 745848 ) on Monday May 14, 2007 @01:48PM (#19117379)
    This "study" was conducted by the same Forrester Research that said the iPod Photo would go nowhere, the same Forrester Research which claimed iTunes sales were "collapsing" then had to scramble to do damage control when their estimates were based on a very misleading data source.

    Part of their problem is they can't seem to see five minutes into the future at the larger strategy Apple is deploying with devices such as AppleTV. What the MIT computer science-educated, but consumer technology-ignorant analysts at Forrester seem to want is for Apple to:

    a) Follow the same abysmal (read: atrociously unsexy) corporate branding strategy as everyone else... i.e. iPods should be APPLE IPODS (imagine a big flashing neon sign).
    b) Focus more energy on getting consumers to accept the 1970's definition of computing (which, incidentally, is paramount to Forrester's bread and butter).

    What Apple does that seems to have Forrester analysts' panties in a bunch is they focus on understanding how consumers interact with technology, and then define solutions that fit that usage. Consequently, Apple does not fit Forrester's mold. They deploy a device like AppleTV and all Forrester can see is Apple trying to compete with cable/dish. They cannot see the larger multimedia strategy at play here, of which AppleTV is only a "feeler" product. Even if AppleTV fails, its lessons are going to be harvested by Apple product people to shape the next generation. Since Steve Jobs' return, Apple seldom experiences a tragic loss in the market because they take whatever they learned and shape future products with the improvements that were needed. If AppleTV succeeds, we'll see an extrapolation of more of its features. If it doesn't, we'll see devices based off AppleTV that possess what it is that AppleTV lacks.

    This difference in focal length of Apple's vision, and Forrester's vision, is also what sets Apple apart from all its competitors. They're just as myopic as Forrester... which works out perfectly since there's money to be made by restating the patently obvious. It's certainly a lot easier than having vision.
  • I can get movies on DVD, HD-DVD, Blu-Ray. I can get television over the air, or cable.

    The only reason I would want iTunes or other online video purchases would be for convenience--including lack of advertising.

    Why would I log on to watch something I can rent, buy, or watch on TV? With rental services like netflix and blockbuster, the cost of viewing an individual movie is next to nothing, so I'd just want to choose an alternate for better convenience. Having ads shown to me is not convenient.
  • new service (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dman171 ( 1102039 )
    So my dad works for a company that is taking there entire video library online in a few months. its going to be available for streaming and download for free (with advertisement) as well as pay download (commercial free). the part i think is the coolest is that when you vote on the video and or discuss it, you help the company choose wheater or not they will distribute it on DVD and possibly theaters. Also film makers will be able to submit there films to possibly recieve a distribution deal. which I think
  • Predicting the demise of any particular technology is a 50%/50% game. Either you're right, or you're not. Articles like this are not actually adding signal to any particular discussion, they're just adding more noise.

    Perhaps it's a sign of the times - I suspect not - but why can we not discuss things that actually matter, things that provide an insight into how we can "do the next good thing", as opposed to knocking down a process that has been developed, released and is widely used.
  • I have to agree. I have used iTunes TV downloads and paying $2 for a TV episode is rediculious. For those not doing the math, at 24 episodes/season thats roughly $50 per season. At that price you can go buy the DVD which you can then rip to whatever format you wish. The website methods, on the other hand work well. My GF who is not a computer person but will use them LOVES watching ABC shows on her laptop. She'll sit and watch Grey's Anatomy on her own though she rarely will work the media center PC o
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mkiwi ( 585287 )
      For those not doing the math, at 24 episodes/season thats roughly $50 per season.

      If you plan to watch the entire season, I suggest you buy the "Season Pass," which is significantly cheaper than buying all the episodes one by one. It's your money, if iTunes offers a cheaper way and you've been spending your money badly, that is certainly not Apple's fault.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"