Examining Apple’s Tenuous Position as Content Provider

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Apple has hit so many home runs in the iPod/iPhone/iTunes universe, that it can be easy to fall under the impression that all its ventures there are destined to succeed. This week brought a wake-up call in that regard, as Amazon launched its totally DRM-free MP3 Store, and the various TV networks made stronger moves into non-iTunes distribution channels. And NBC told Apple to go to hell as many ways as it knew how (though Chuck and Journeyman, produced by Warner and aired on NBC, do appear on the iTunes Store regardless of the current enmity) And, of course, movie studios are still largely avoiding iTunes like the plague.

Wired has a great run-down of what’s been happening with the TV companies lately as they try to figure out the whole digital distribution thing. Largely, they speak to a world without Apple. Which is interesting, if only because it’s pretty clear that video on an iPod or even an iPod is not as compelling as video on your TV or even your laptop. That means the content is much more platform-agnostic, and the iPod installed base is way less relevant. Hugh Hart has the story:

CBS execs nicknamed their team-and-stream syndication model Swing Town. Multiple partners? Absolutely. Downplaying the brand-centric hub site approach, CBS has partnered with sites including AOL, Joost, Sling Media, YouTube, MSNBC and Bebo. Viewership for CBS material subsequently skyrocketed from 24 million in May to 134 million in July, according to Multichannel News.

Patrick Keane, a vice president with CBS Interactive, says, “We syndicate our content to these sites because users are telling us that is where they’re going. We want our content in front of people wherever they are, whether that means Yahoo or AOL or YouTube or Bebo.”

It’s a fascinating landscape out there for InternetTV. Apple doesn’t have this thing nailed down just yet. The next few years are going to be wild.

2 responses to “Examining Apple’s Tenuous Position as Content Provider”

  1. cLake says:

    NBC is so cleaver. Ha… just kidding.