Apple iTunes has the power to save TV shows, drive new viewers, even change production methods

“It takes a lot of love to download a TV show on iTunes. The process is time-consuming (10 minutes or so for a sitcom). The screen image – by necessity – is ant-sized. The picture gets the yips. And worst of all, the thing hogs a vast chunk of memory. And, for what? A repeat,” Verne Gay writes for Newsday.

MacDailyNews Note: Jobs only knows what pile of carp PC ol’ Verne is using and with what baud dial-up modem. TV shows for users of cable modems and DSL download considerably more quickly than “10 minutes or so,” are not at all “ant-sized,” and, at least on Macs, the picture does not get “the yips.”

Gay continues, “Yet the basic fact remains. iTunes has saved ‘The Office.’ A year ago, the show was about to suffer the fate of a hundred thousand other shows that labored under the tyranny of Nielsen: It was about to get the ax. And then something providential happened. ABC cut a deal with iTunes’ new TV service, and a few hours later, NBC followed. ‘The Office’ was an immediate iTunes hit. While neither Apple nor NBC release numbers (a million total monthly downloads for all TV shows is one estimate), ‘The Office’ now reigns as the ‘Seinfeld’ of iTunes. While it recently ceded the top spot to ‘Lost,’ most weeks the great NBC comedy is the single most downloaded program. ‘I’m not sure that we’d still have the show on the air’ without the iTunes boost, says Angela Bromstead, president of NBC Universal Television Studio.”

Gay continues, “Anniversaries are a time to take stock, and one of the most important of the decade falls in a few weeks. When the networks (CBS followed quickly, too) signed those dramatic deals with iTunes last fall, no one had a clue what would happen. They have clues now. iTunes has saved shows, driven new viewers to the networks and their Web sites, and even changed the way shows are produced.”

“iTunes has almost certainly saved other shows, too, or at least given them a lease on life. NBC recently ordered more scripts for ‘Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.’ Would that have happened if ‘Studio’ didn’t have just the slightest traction on iTunes? (Four episodes placed recently in the iTunes top 50.) Probably not,” Gay reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brian” from for the heads up.]

Related article:
USA Today article about network TV shows online nearly forgets about Apple – October 31, 2006
The Office proves popular download on Apple’s iTunes Music Store; WB, HBO express interest – January 03, 2006
Who would have thought that a computer company would change the face of TV? – November 11, 2005
Apple’s iTunes Music Store sells over one million videos in under 20 days – October 31, 2005
Can Apple’s iTunes Store resurrect old time TV? – October 30, 2005
Has Apple’s Steve Jobs saved network television or simply helped hasten its death? – October 27, 2005
BusinessWeek: Apple iPod+iTunes video marks new era for digital media – October 27, 2005
TV Critic: Apple iPod video strikingly bright, crisp, very fluid; TV will have to reorient itself – October 27, 2005
CBS News: New iPod shows ‘Apple will continue to dominate portable digital media player market’ – October 21, 2005
Apple’s video-capable iPod and iTunes are first vital link in new distribution paradigm – October 21, 2005
The Motley Fool: ‘Apple’s new video-enabled iPod is about to save the televised content industry’ – October 20, 2005
Apple’s $1.99 iTunes TV show downloads may be ‘the savior of good television’ – October 17, 2005
Apple opens Pandora’s box for the media business, could have profound long-term consequences – October 17, 2005
Apple has the potential to change not just the audio industry, but the whole entertainment industry – October 17, 2005
Forrester Research: Apple transformed music distribution, now it is doing the same for video – October 14, 2005
Apple video iPod+iTunes could create mass audience for video on the go, despite studios’ misgivings – October 13, 2005
Analyst: Apple has just produced ‘the tipping point’ for entertainment content – October 13, 2005
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Apple unveils new 5th generation iPod, now plays music, photos, and video – October 12, 2005


  1. Ant sized what BS!!!

    I sit ten feet away from my 27″ television, in my hand my video iPod is about 10 to 12 inches away, visually the screens appear to be about the same size, so there is no difference to the viewing experience, except that the image on the LCD screen on the iPod is better quality than on the TV, which is a CRT. Is this something people don’t get? Perceptually the viewing experience is essentially identical!!!! Dohhh!

  2. The minimum stated Mac hardware requirements for the newish ITS videos is a G4 1GHz Mac. On my 4 year old iMac G4 800MHz, TV shows and movies play and look fine if I log out/in and only start iTunes. Not bad for a machine that doesn’t meet the minimum requirements.

    MW: moral – If you want to run the latest technology (H.264 needs a decent processor), you need a recentish machine.

  3. If you don’t believe me sit where you usually watch TV and hold up your iPod at your normal viewing distance so that the screens are side by side in your field of vision, and you will see they are pretty much the same size.

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