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MacBytes
Oct 20, 2005, 10:08 AM
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Category: Apple Services
Link: The iPod -- and Disney's blessing -- could create a mass audience for video on the go (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20051020110856)

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dashiel
Oct 20, 2005, 11:38 AM
i wrote something about the disney thing kinda long:

Ok so thereís been a ton of reviews on the new iPod, and Iíve honestly tried to stay away from it, but alas too many people just donít get why Apple has already won. To paraphrase a famous quotation - itís the content stupid! Since the birth of convenient home video, which for the purposes of this post weíll start at the VHS/Beta wars, a formatís success or failure relies on one thing content. Itís not just any content that you need though there are two very specific types the will guarantee success - the first you almost get for free - porn. Porn makers jump on new technology like, well like a pizza delivery boy whoís scantily clad customer doesnít have the money to pay for the pie. They were either first, or close enough to being first it didnít matter in VHS, DVD, internet downloads, HD, PSP, iPod (pre-video), PSP, etcÖ Having said that though, some formats refuse to license the technology, notably DiVX (not the codec, the ill fated rental based DVD system). No porn = no money. The second must have industry you must have to succeed is Disney. No matter what year it is, no matter how poor the current crop of Disney products are kids must have their Disney videos. Take a look at the best selling DVDs of all time, youíre going to see a lot of Disney product up there. I seem to recall, though have no distinct proof (and not being a journalist donít need any ) that Disney films were not available on Beta max when I was growing up. I used to look longingly at that VHS copy of Condorman on the video shop shelf.

So where does that leave Apple? Well youíre never going to see porn in the iTunes music store, but Playboy* started releasing images of their girls for the iPod photo, several porn video pod casts have started up and that number is going to just explode - Adam Curry, the sort of father of podcasting has said as much. The benefit to Apple is porn doesnít need to be heavily advertised or directly linked to the format for success, Apple keeps itís hands clean, but at the same time theyíre very quietly amassing a huge user base for H.264 and the iPod.

Now the Disney deal, Steve Jobs obviously knows that kids films are integral to the success of a new video format, but thereís a lot more behind this deal than a simple distribution plan. There are two potential directions this is taking. The first one - Don Iger, Disneyís new CEO has stated publicly that the film industry needs to start looking at alternative methods of delivery like DVD releases concurrent with theatrical releases. Heís obviously a wired in guy and understands the market is shifting, he also understands that Pixar is pivotal in Disneyís success in feature animation. The Disney/Pixar ďsplitĒ is well documented, this initial deal may be Igerís form of peace offering to Steve. Not only does Iger get to try out a new delivery method, he gets back in Jobsí good books and the Disney/Pixar relationship can resume. Yes, I know that Pixar and Apple are two different companies and the whims of their CEO shouldnít affect the others business model, but letís face it, this is Steve Jobs weíre talking about. I happen to think this is the more likely scenario; Iíve always maintained that the Disney/Pixar split was a publicity stunt to get Eisner bootedÖ I lost the blog post I made about this, but if I can find it Iíll repost it.

The second option, Iger is still interested in new distribution methods, but heís not quite so forthcoming. In scenario 2 Jobs becomes the suitor, he approaches Iger saying look weíre doing video iPod, you know that downloads are going to be the wave of the future, and you know that Pixarís next films will be available through that method of delivery. It will instantly legitimize the iTunes Video store, you can either come with us or get left behind. Then the same thing happens as before, Iger wants to get back with Disney so he allows Disney content to be distributed on iTunes.

Still Igerís smart, and just like DVD heís not going to let the crown jewels go in the first round of releases, in other words no Disney Animation, not yet. Though I donít think Steve wants movies yet either, thatís next year. All the whys and wherefores though are just interesting speculation, the key here is with porn and Disney, Apple has already won. You think Creative or Dell is going to be able to strike a deal with Disney? Yeah right. Microsoft, the only potential competitor is out of the running because Jobs has the Pixar ace up his sleeve, e.g. he says to Iger, we want exclusive content period, or you donít get Pixar films - thatís Microsoft done. Other studios arenít dumb, they know Disney is such a juggernaut that they can define a format just by throwing their weight behind it, the other studios will fall in line. Some will attempt to go another rout, and like Beta and DiVX before them they will lose. Sony, Microsoft, focus on your gaming platform because thatís your cash cow now, video and music are finished for you.

*I realize that defining Playboy as pornography is extreme

Lacero
Oct 20, 2005, 11:40 AM
I can see a huge market for kid's programming such as Saturday morning cartoons, and cartoon featurettes. What's hot nowadays for the kids? Sometimes I wish to be 8 again.