Steve Jobs, quite a time before he died in October 2011, bragged about his interest in TV being something of a “hobby” in search of a real business. It was a good enough idea that Jobs’ successor and that team at Apple have continued that mission, albeit arguably without any of the true success that Apple would measure among the standards set by its iPod, iPhone, and iPad. (See, Mixed Signals, AppleTV: The Paradigm of Enigmas, May 24, 2013.
Meanwhile, Silicon Valley colleague, Google, and its teams led by Mssrs. Brim, Page, and Schmidt, have also seen the future -- indeed, their futures -- and there are strong indications that TV will be a measureable part of those. Google Fiber and Chromecast certainly get folks curious, most would agree.
Video, Not TV
But make no mistake, no one within an Internet connection anywhere in the world would think to see either Apple or Google roll seriously into TV as we know it today, or as we ever knew it before. Rather, AppleTV-In-Its-SERIOUS-Iteration and GoogleTV-In-Its-SERIOUS-Iteration -- when those dates and when those services one day arrive – will be about video, but actually it will be about video unlike any TV we have ever known!
(Huge) Money Talks
And although just about everyone looking at strategy and long-term TV and video business plans these days knows how substantially Apple and Google covet a real and serious place at this table, it may be worth reminding most lovers of media and telecom why the Apple and Google remains such a real threat to hugely powerful groups of content owners, content distributors, and related business owners: between them, Apple and Google are pushing a billion dollars in company stock value! Apple today has a stock value of roughly $530 billion., while Google currently tops out at over $372 billion.
That combination of Apple and Google stock value comes to more than $900 billion., which can buy a lot of content, and a lot of infrastructure, to carry a lot of video to every kind of consumer, on every kind of monitor/device, in almost every part of the world, at almost any time of the day or night (adding in a bit of DVR- and VOD-related time-shifting).
In summary, when planning for that TV Future -- really more of that Video Future -- broadcasters, cable, satellite and telco providers, as well as movie and TV studios, and every possible related entity, including the U.S., state, and municipal governments -- need to think strategically of a new world where the input and direction of Apple and Google are not just occasional curiosities, but to-be-expected givens.
So, get ready folks…$900 bil. is a lot of money to keep tied up for such a long time. This is especially the case when 1) you have desired that remarkable video presence for so long, 2) you have been thus far so unsuccessful at achieving it, and yet 3) it remains so vitally important to your companies’ success!
Jimmy Schaeffler is a telecom author and chairman and CSO of the Carmel-by-the-Sea-based streaming/broadband, broadcast, and pay TV/video consultancy, The Carmel Group (www.carmelgroup.com).