Who’s the big daddy in online television streaming? Netflix. This week Netflix did something really worthwhile for customers and points viewers to the direction Apple’s next Apple TV needs to go. Netflix lets you download select movies and TV shows to be viewed offline later. That means there’s no need for an internet connection. Load up on the select content, view while you’re on an airplane or traveling by car.
That’s a great idea, of course, and it’s likely to spread, but it should be obvious to Netflix, Apple, Google, Amazon, cable TV companies, and content producers what all of us want in the near future. It’s simple.
All content, on any device, all the time.
Seriously. What else could you want? That covers every scenario. No more packages. Let me pay for what I watch. That means content providers and distributors could put a price tag on any TV show ever produced, any movie ever distributed, and make it available for download and viewing on any popular device.
The technology is there already so what’s the problem?
It’s all about status quo; whereby all the players now preserve the gravy train so others don’t get an undeserved slice of the pie (it’s mid-week, so I got a discount on mixed metaphors). Nobody in the video content business wants Apple to do to TV what it did to music (other than save it from a slowly rotting death). Apple’s iTunes Music Store is the world’s largest music retailer and there’s a general fear that Apple could do the same thing to video content.
Let me repeat what everyone wants and then compare it to what is available.
All video content, available on any device, at any time. That means we can subscribe to a service and get x-number of downloads; either stream-to-view, or download to view later, and on any popular device; Mac, Windows PC, tablets and smartphones.
If the technology is there already, and the content has been digitized appropriately, then why can’t we get such a service?
There are too many cooks in the kitchen, too many disparate distribution arrangements in place, and too many greedy participants to let it happen. If you could download every video content program ever made from iTunes, why would you need a cable TV service? If you could get access to any TV show or movie at any time, why would you view a TV or cable network?
See the problem?
Everyone in the industry already has a slice of the pie and they’re not willing to share with newcomers, and fully afraid of the concept. Worse, what we know of TV and movie entertainment is changing by the day, thanks to Netflix, YouTube, Facebook and other entities that create their own new content (in some cases, user created) and have taken viewers away from traditional media content sources.
I know what I want. I know what I’m willing to pay for. And I know it’s not going to happen that way. When Apple moves the bar closer to that goal I’ll recommend an Apple TV again.