Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Apple Is Disintermediated - Who Needs iTunes After All?

Disney has announced that it is making several of its hit shows available on the web, free of charge: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114471866760022484.html?mod=mm_media_marketing_hs_left. It's been an interesting progression: Apple sells music on iTunes, Apple provides video on iTunes, video providers realize that people don't necessarily want to watch video on their iPod, video providers distribute content directly to their users via the web.

A lot of people are having their ox gored, but they are being polite about it for now: local stations and cable networks - who benefit from off-net syndicated programming; cable MSOs who want to capture the on-demand market through their cable systems. It remains to be seen whether all of the publicity surrounding Disney's latest move will generate additional interest in their programming - and create more value for their shows at every step of the value chain: DVDs, syndication, etc. - in the near- to medium-term. After all, I don't think that there is a very large audience for watching TV programs on your PC - yet - and there is also some work involved in finding the programs, etc., even if you could port the programs from your PC to your TV.

Nonetheless, it's one more significant step in revamping the old business model. Stay tuned - or logged in, as the case may be.