Analyst sees Apple facing stiff competition in digital video in 2006

“David C. Bailey of Goldman Sachs reiterated an ‘in-line’ rating on Apple Computer, but said the company could face stiff competition in digital video in 2006,” Maya Roney reports for Forbes. “Viacom unit CBS and General Electric unit NBC have reportedly agreed to provide on-demand TV shows to cable and satellite companies within hours after their premiers. The initial content from the networks will be limited to only a few shows, as in Apple’s deal with The Walt Disney Co. unit ABC.”

“Bailey said the more-aggressive price of 99 cents per episode (compared with Apple’s $1.99) and the ability to watch the shows on a TV (instead of a computer or iPod under Apple’s agreement) are strong indications that Apple will not be able to easily replicate its digital audio dominance in the nascent market for digital video,” Roney reports.

Full article here.

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The $1.99 price for video from Apple offers video that can seamlessly be played on iPods, Mac and Windows computers, and Apple’s new iPods can display audio and video on any TV or other video device using a US$19.99 Apple iPod AV Cable. An Apple iPod Universal Dock ($39.99) plus an Apple Remote ($19.99, included free with the new iMac G5) are a nice solution for using your iPod to play video on any size screen. You can also use Apple’s $19.99 VGA Display Adapter to connect the mini-VGA port on many Mac models to any VGA-equipped monitor or external projector for video-mirroring. The VGA cable plugs into the VGA video-out port built into your Mac. Or use Apple’s Apple Video Adapter to connect the mini-VGA video output port on your Mac to any S-video or Composite enabled device (TV, VCR, or overhead projector’s S-Video or RCA (composite) cable).

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  1. Am I missing something? Why would Tivo oweners pay even more to record/download a video they could record when it’s broadcast. Plus– does this video then become portable?

    I think there is competition nfor the iPod, but my view has always been that the iPod video success will come from video podcasts and music videos.

    Interesting to watch all this play out.

  2. It isn’t exactly news to claim that MDN gets a little overheated and uncritically pro-Apple in its take, but this one moved me to comment.

    I, for one, am glad to see other providers move into video distribution. I would much rather watch a show natively on a TV than do it on a Mac or iPod, despite the hodgepodge of (costly) cables that allow low-res pictures to be displayed on a TV using an iPod.

    I am supportive of Apple and want it to succeed, but there’s no reason to believe that iTunes is by definition the best way to distribute video or that $1.99 is by definition the proper price point for it. I am glad to see multiple options and methods for making the jump to on-demand video distribution. If Apple’s method is worth it for some people, then it will succeed, and that’s fine by me. But let’s not pretend that Apple’s methods for things are the only concievable methods, or always the best ones. I love Apple, but I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid.

  3. None of this matters much. Video to Apple is an experiment. Let the networks try and do it on their own, and then fail. After that, they will let the pro do it (Apple). Even then, it won’t be the huge hit that music is.

  4. There are two problems with the NBC/CBS deal:
    1) it requires that you are subscribed to digital cable. In my area, that costs upwards of $60 a month. Then, if you want to download one of those shows, it’s on top of the monthly fee.
    2) It’s tied to their system – you can only watch it on your TV.

    The sweet part of the deal with Apple is that you can buy one without any subscription to anything and then take it with you wherever you go, either on your computer or your iPod. Given these two systems, I really hope the iTunes one wins – it gives the customer much more freedom of choice. I want to buy TV shows a la carte with no monthly fees. Why do I have to pay for 100 channels when all I want to watch is Battlestar Galactica. If I could buy it on a per episode basis, that would be max $7.96 a month compared to a monthly free of $60 to get a whole bunch of garbage on TV that I never watch.

  5. First Music, now Video. Welcome to “Rent Vs. Buy II – Rerented”

    Forget the $1 difference and the rent vs. buy – the number one issue I have is that I don’t want all my media on different devices. I want it in one place – a RAID file system – and I want it available on any device I choose – iPod, home computer, home theater – and I want to pay for it one time and have unlimited usage of it.

    MDN word: recently

  6. What a great point…u can aready “tivo” the program. Why would u buy it? Plus, what about the masses who dont have DVR’s? There SOL. A house hold is more likly to have high speed internet now adays than a DVR.

  7. As MDN points out, there are several alternatives available that make watching iTunes video, on TVs, possible. There is just one problem with those alternatives. They aren’t seemless to the extent that the NBC and CBS offerings are, and that has been the key to Apple’s success with the iPod.

    I think the bigger issue is going to be whether downloaders want to buy (iTunes) or rent (CBS, NBC). Time will tell.

    Personally, I think Apple is first in class at figuring out what the consumer wants. I can’t believe Apple didn’t consider the ‘rent’ model. Given that they most likely did, and rejected it in favor of the ‘own’ model, suggests that renting won’t be as popular as owning.

    I think NBC and CBS chose the renting scenario, as an answer to the piracy issue. The download self-destructs within some time constraint making priacy nearly (if not totally) impossible.

    To get NBC and CBS on board is going to require success of Apple’s model, coupled with a proven anti-piracy strategy. This will take at least a year.

  8. This just in:

    Microsoft will issue a patch next month that will make iTunes software incompatible with Windows systems. Steve Ballmer says that it is high time people chose – Windows or Mac. No more of this wishy-washy “play well together” stuff.

    Microsoft will also discontinue Office for the Mac beginning January ’06.

    Hooray!!!! Now let the REAL slugfest begin ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    Oooops. That darn Justice Dept. is sticking its nose in again. Typical Mac fanboy behavior – hide behind the govt’s skirts…

  9. The hollywood/media people want to sell you the same content OVER & OVER AGAIN. They see DRM not as protection against piracy as much as they see it as a guarantee of future profits. Apple understands that people do not want to rent music or other content– they want to own it. Viacom & GE (NBC/Universal is GE and CBS is Viacom) want to rent you their sh*t. NO THANKS.

  10. This Just In – Part II:

    After the bombshell announcement, Apple’s high-flying stock drops 60% as institutional investors head for the exits – led by Microsoft selling the Apple shares it purchased several years ago for $200 Million. EBay reports that the number of slightly-used Mac systems on offer have multiplied over a hundred times.

    Caught in traffic while driving to work in his sleek Porsche, Steve Jobs notices people looking at him with a pitying look on their faces. “What’s wrong with them?” he wonders. The pin drops when he arrives at the office and his secretary tells him the leasing company just rejected his application for a new top-of-the-line Gulfstream jet.

    Meanwhile, Bill Gates muses out the window of his coach seat on Delta Airlines, wondering whether another $250 million will be needed to fight malaria in Africa….

  11. I agree with Phippy’s comment above that Apple’s way is not necessarily the best way. This is particularly true of the current video content on iTunes. It is NOT great if you want to watch on regular TV because of the encodiing resolution.

    However, this is only the 1.0 version of video from Apple. There has to be something behind their hiring the CEO of Elgato last month, and I don’t think they really need him to run Apple Germany.

  12. In my area, a DVR capable cable box costs an extra 5 bucks over the standard box. Therefore I can set the DVR to record as many programs as I want for 5 buck a month. I have the unit set to record about 6 series at the momenet.

    I rarely use On-demand since the majority of stuff there is old or of no interest to me. On demand is a good idea but it doesn’t offer a wide range of items. And I’m very unlikely to buy stuff from there because movies I usually get from Netflix.

    All in all such a service has little utility for me.

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