“Netflix is cruising. The cable guys are catching on. Wal-Mart just rumbled in. The Apple TV was the company’s early attempt at enabling users to watch Web video on TV screens. The Web’s video-on-demand sector is filling up fast with some serious heavyweights,” Greg Sandoval reports for CNET. “If Apple wants to make a mark in digital video that even vaguely resembles the one it made in music, perhaps the company should start treating Apple TV as more than just a ‘hobby.'”
“That’s Apple’s attitude toward the streaming-media device, said Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, who spoke at a conference in San Francisco on Tuesday,” Sandoval reports. “This doesn’t seem to be a good time to toy with online video. Competition is turning white hot. On Monday, the nation’s retailing juggernaut, Wal-Mart Stores, announced its intention to distribute films and movies over the Internet. The company also said it had acquired Vudu, the former set-top box maker that now sells media-distribution software.”
Sandoval reports, “Well, right now, Apple sells films and TV shows for PCs and the company’s ubiquitous handheld devices, as well as the wee number of people who own Apple TVs.”
MacDailyNews Take: That “wee number” of Apple TV owners is likely over 7 million by now; without any promotion whatsoever from Apple. By the way, Amazon is estimated to have sold 2.5 million Kindles to date. If 7 million Apple TV units is a “wee number,” then what’s 2.5 million Kindles? Well, let’s go to today’s arbitrary arbiter of success, Greg Sandoval himself, who, at least a million Kindle units ago, described Amazon’s device as the “popular Kindle electronic-book reader.”
Sandoval continues, “What remains to be seen is whether [iPad] actually spurs sales of video downloads… What may be more intriguing is if Apple takes the same route as Netflix and begins streaming video to people’s TV sets via the Web? A film industry source told me a year ago Apple had discussed launching a streaming video service.”
There’s much more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: What we’ve been saying forever, as recently as Tuesday: Again with the “hobby.” We don’t have much to criticize when it comes to Cook, but please stop referring to Apple TV as a “hobby.” The reason why Apple TV has sold “only” around 7 million units lies somewhere between content providers not offering enough reasonably-priced content to Apple TV and Apple treating the device like a red-headed stepchild.
When your cable company-issued DVR inevitably screws up, Apple TV is invaluable. When you want to catch a movie without any hassle, Apple TV is great (rentals more so than purchases, which are priced too high). For sharing music, home movies, YouTube content, podcasts, and photos, it’s excellent, too. Why Apple either belittles the device as a “hobby” or just completely ignores it and fails to promote it is beyond us.
We have Apple TVs. We use Apple TVs. We love our Apple TVs. Apple TVs are great devices that do many things well. It sells itself to people who see us run it through its paces. Why Apple hates their own product remains a maddening mystery to us.
Here’s a plan, Apple (and this goes for everyone from Steve Jobs on down):
1. Stop referring to your product as a “hobby.” You’re not just talking to analysts; everybody hears you. You’re denigrating the product for no reason. Why don’t you just come out and say “don’t buy it?” Idiocy happens at Apple, too; thankfully, it’s rare.
2. Start – gasp – actually promoting Apple TV and maybe you’ll even surprise yourselves by actually selling units beyond the relative trickle to those who are extremely-in-the-know and who sell your product for you via word-of-mouth alone.
By the way, Apple, if you make a TV ad, it helps to actually run it:
Direct link via YouTube here.