Apple TV (iTV) may not be a game changer

Posted on August 23, 2010 | No Comments

This post from @kevinrose (founder of ) suggests television will never be the same after Apple launches its rumoured $99 set-top box. From a consumer POV, this device or the new Google TV may check all of the boxes for those people who want to cut their TV cable cord (see my earlier blog post about my experiences without cable) but a game changer? Read the comments on his blog to get a glimpse of the doubters, and here are some further considerations I’d like to hear more opinions on:

– Programming costs a lot of money to make. $100K per half hour is considered cheap. After Apple gets it cut, how many episode purchases from consumers will need to be made in order for the producer to break even, and who will fight for the international programming distribution rights?

– Broadly speaking, successful television programming in Canada is made with funds provided by the government and cable companies, who are mandated to reinvest some dollars into the local industry. To get access to this funding, a broadcaster also needs to invest in the TV program. The broadcaster makes its money for content from advertising dollars. Like it or not, reducing the power and influence of cable companies such as Rogers, Bell, Shaw, etc.,  as well as the broadcaster and the advertisers will greatly diminish the funding available to television producers to create new products for both linear TV and online (unless, of course, Apple and Google are mandated to invest in local programming and are considered by the CRTC as ‘cable company’).

–  Broadcasters want to be in this multi-screened space and are investing additional financial and people resources to make it happen. Given the extra resources it takes to put broadcasted episodes on third party content aggregators such as Apple, profit (if any) is invested back into making this content available on digital media. The industry might be willing to play with AppleTV and GoogleTV if that’s what consumers want, but in the end, each broadcaster and cable company would rather create their own walled garden for maximum return on investment.

– This tweet from Modern Family creator, Steve Levitan (@stevelevitan) brings up a good point. It’s not only broadcasters and cable companies who want a return on their investment.

It’s about choice. If anything, Apple TV and GoogleTV will help offer new choice to the user, but will it actually change the industry forever?

What do you think? Will the cable industry crumble when these devices launch, or are there other examples pointing to why Apple TV will be just another player in the marketplace?

My iPhone is not a phone

Posted on January 5, 2010 | No Comments

Each month, I spent 2 minutes tops using the iPhone to speak to other people. The other 43, 220 minutes I spend using my iPhone as:

– my new book library. I installed Kobo and thanks to some regularly appearing coupons in my email, it’s my new book store. Books were getting annoying to move all the time, anyway. While it doesn’t have everything I’d like to read, I can only assume it will one day.

– my fitness guide. I use the Nike+ system with my shoes to know how far I’ve run and the speed, and it automatically updates my running progress on my Twitter acct (ask to follow for now!). I use RunKeeper Free to help calibrate my Nike+ system with its GPS tracking of my runs. I also use the Nike Training app when it’s a kajillion degrees below zero outside. And finally, I track my chocolate  consumption with Livestrong’s Daily Plate app.

– my notetaker and to do list. I have too many projects on the go, always, with more being added on a regular basis. I was a pen and paper gal when I needed to create to do lists (for the rewarded check mark upon completion) but so far the very popular Things app is helping keep me paperless and less encumbered during meetings. I’m not sure if it qualifies for my day to day work (where I often need to keep 48 things on the top of my head at any given moment) but it’s good to keep me focussed on one project at a time.

– my guitar tuner thanks to Guitar Toolkit and a fun music maker with Groove Maker and of course, autotunetastic I am T-Pain. I can also see song lyrics and locate who’s listening to the same tunes as me on TuneWiki

– my game console. Tons of games – what’s your fave?

– my weather guide

– my news guide

– etc etc etc

How do you use your iPhone outside of dialing up?

Beijing Summer Games Online

Posted on August 6, 2008 | No Comments

Television execs must be biting their fingernails over this one. With the 12 hour time difference between Beijing and the eastern coast of North America, plus the now instantaneous submission of user news generated via sites such as Twitter an Facebook (and there’s already a leak of the opening ceremonies that appeared online this week), nets with broadcast rights for the summer games (which I cannot call Ol_mpics because of silly trademark rules) are heading online to grasp the audience.

NBC has a schedule up on its site for online services. It’s not just for televisions. NBC announced its Olympics 2 Go for mobile phones. 

CBC’s online plans? Unsure from its summer games webpage if there are plans to simulcast the footage. But they have numerous blogs, video content and a user-generated activity asking people to upload their own cheer for the Canadian audiences.

YouTube even has its own Summer Games Channel a geo-blocked video service that goes live on Wednesday.

What will be interesting to note is the old fashioned TV ratings. Will less people watch on TV in favour of the smaller screen? Will people actually watch the smaller screen for the instant news and then later the larger for the fancy, HD footage?

Fallon to debut Late Night online

Posted on July 22, 2008 | No Comments

Lorne Michaels has decided to give Jimmy Fallon’s debut as the new Late Night talk show a testing ground – online.  Even though he won’t debut on the traditional media until Fall ’09, he’ll start his web debut in the coming months.

It’s a clever way to kick some tires before committing to a traditional TV format. Michaels told the New York Times this web-exclusivity will allow Fallon to experiment more with content. Hopefully this means the online version will actually take advantage of the internet medium and engage its viewers rather than provide passive entertainment. 

One format that should draw inspiration is the now defunct The Show with Ze Frank. Frank started the online video program as a one year experiment from March ’06 to March ’07 and I have yet to see anything like it since. Subscribers (named sportracers) dedicated themselves to help make this show even better than Ze Frank could have imagined. They directed a lot of the show content and were challenged to do things such as make the ugliest MySpace page (easy!) and create an Earth sandwich. Frank also created a social app for those fans who needed solace after The Show ended with TheOrg, which also only lasted one year.

Of course, I’d be OK with a Fallon-led passive experience if it were 5 to 10 minutes of the Barry Gibb Talk Show.

Why television execs can never ask “where do people find the time?”

Posted on June 25, 2008 | 1 Comment

The short speech by Here Comes Everybody author Clay Shirky from the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco is brilliant. Why? It explains the shift in audience media interaction in a light and funny way.  And it’s a good first-post for my blog.

Clay Shirky at Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco

What makes this important? “Media that’s targeted at you but doesn’t include you may not be worth sitting still for.” 

(Also, who knew there were gin pushcarts in London back in the day?) 

Phrases this will teach you: Cognitive Surplus, Social Surplus, Architecture of Participation

And yes, I’m fully aware it seems strange my first post to a blog called For Your Reading Pleasure directs you to a video, so here is the transcript.