June 13, 2012
…and a failure to understand this is the biggest threat to Pay TV operators and technology vendors’ prosperity. It’s an industry that I love – and I make the statement as a call to action, before it’s too late.
The situation facing operators and vendors isn’t new, or exclusive to the television industry. The history of the tech industry is littered with great products and services that fell by the wayside because they failed to capture the imagination of their intended audience or failed to provide a compelling reason for people to buy. Unless it acts quickly the TV industry runs the serious risk of failing to make the case for why people should want to pay money for social and connected TV applications, multi-screen, hybrid and TV Everywhere services. We’ve been talking about them for years… but it appears that we’re still unable to provide compelling evidence for how they can improve the viewing experience.
Why the urgency to fix this now? One word… a word that should strike fear in to the heart of every company in the industry. Apple. While the company didn’t unveil the now mythical Apple TV set at this week’s WWDC it is, according to any number of people in the know, only a matter of time. Both former CEO Steve Jobs and Tim Cook have also alluded to the fact that it’s coming [it is stated in his biography that Jobs claimed to have, 'cracked the code' to TV]. Whether that’s an ‘insanely awesome’ and ‘revolutionary’ TV that will change the way people watched it or a new viewing experience – the industry had better be ready!
It’s unlikely that Apple will have a significantly better technical solution for multi-screen viewing, or offer any significant insights on how to integrate social networks [I think the knowledge and experience in the industry will always surpass anything that the Cupertino-based company can offer], but I do think that whatever they launch will be disruptive. Very disruptive. My instinct tells me that Jeremy Toeman has it pretty much spot on in his piece, ‘Decoding “I cracked it“].
But, when it comes to convincing consumers that a product is a ‘must have’… nobody can touch Apple. You can be sure that when the Apple TV does launch the marketing will be another master-class in how to position a technology and convince consumers they need it. If you’re in any doubt you need look no further than the iPad! I think Jobs’ “I cracked it” will be the way Apple markets a new social, connected, multiscreen TV experience!
You have been warned.