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New Media and Apples Desire to Kill it!

Posted by geeknews at 5:29 PM on September 11, 2010

When Steve Jobs introduced the new Apple TV he said something in his comments that really pissed me off. In fact the way he said it, reminded me of individuals that thinks their opinion on all things is superior to others you know the type.

For the past 6 years new media, and podcasting has changed the landscape forever on how media is being consumed and what is available to consumers today. In 2004-2005 no one knew what a podcast was. By early 2006 there were 10′s of thousands of shows being created out of studio’s, spare bedrooms, lofts and garages reaching audiences that were desperate for targeted content that had value.

The podcast evolution delivers millions of hours of content to consumers worldwide each month. Looking back I do not know how many of the core group of podcasters that started in 2004 are still creating content, but they deserve a footnote in the history books, podcasting and new media has simply changed the world and continues to push boundaries.

Since 2004 Content Creators and Consumers have had a pretty level playing field via the Internet, with devices like the Roku & Boxee creating more distribution opportunities we continue to make inroads into big medias turf. Yet the big purse strings that media controls, have resulted in them working like crazy to negate the impact user generated content has had. Which leads me to ask the following, it should be noted that Apple was not bad mouthing new media when they added it to iTunes in 2005. They were not bad mouthing new media when we helped drive sales to their iPods to make them an industry powerhouse. They were not bad mouthing new media when show producers like me introduced video to help drive sales to the iTouch and iPhone.

Yet Steve Jobs had the balls to say this during the introduction of the Apple TV. Mr. Jobs claimed that people want “Hollywood movies and TV shows,” and he added that “they don’t want amateur hour.” I obviously disagree.

When I heard that my first thought was WTF. The more I have thought about this it is obvious to me that the new Apple TV has been made for one thing, and one thing only and that is to make them a bunch of money. Through the rental of movies and TV shows. I am not against a company making money, but I am disappointed in the approach and attitude displayed at the announcement. Yet they did not remove the podcast link, it will be sometime to determine how the new cloud integration will work, my hope is a lot of new media is consumer through the device. The question that remains is why did Steve Jobs have to refer to independent content creators in such a negative way?

I am one of the lucky ones, only a small percentage of my audience listens and watches my show through iTunes, they are tech savvy and know how get the show on over 200 different devices. But what happens when Steve Jobs words influence Microsoft, and others who then start removing support for new media from their devices. While I doubt this will happen, his comments set the seed

Millions of dollars in venture capital, millions of dollars in stock offerings, and a huge amount sweat equity have been invested in what Steve Jobs refers to as “amateur hour”. While not all companies and media creators have survived, some have, my show is profitable, and completely independent. The new media company that I run is fortunately profitable. Their are a couple of companies that are in a lot of trouble, but nothing comes easy in this space. We are fighting the establishment for advertising dollars, and many companies have refused to advertise in new media. Comments like Jobs create doubts about the viability of the media, which if the truth be known on the effectiveness of new media advertising,  those same advertisers would be lining up to get a piece of the action

This all boils down to one thing, Steve Jobs was willing to bite the hand that feeds him. If this leads to the removal of new media from Apple devices there will be hell to pay. One thing for sure, how successful he is with the Apple TV is going to depend on how well the can compete with other companies that are embracing the space.  Maybe this is all for mute because he considers Apple TV a Hobby and is willing to leave us behind.

4 Comments

  1. From JD at 5:55 pm on September 11, 2010

    You are reading WAY too much into what Jobs said.. I don’t think Mr. Jobs is claiming that people don’t watch user-generated content. I’m pretty sure he’s aware of the stats of online behavior. His point is that when connecting a set-top box to a tv, most likely a widescreen HDTV, people want high-quality content that is worthy of the display.

    FWIW I think if he DID mean what you are saying he is still completely right even if taken the way you mention. I don’t want crap on my expensive TV equipment. I saw a ton of other blogs carried away by this comment that had similar responses. If I sit down to watch TV I want high quality content, if I’m at my computer I don’t mind the other stuff – some of it just as fun.

    People hate Steve Jobs because they expect him to talk and act like a stuffy old a-hole CEO. Others appreciate his candor and don’t try and read into every little word he says.

  2. From Andrew cannon at 9:06 pm on September 11, 2010

    Todd,

    I, too, am not in 100% agreement with the way that you interpreted his comments but nonetheless I think you do have a point. But while reading your post tonight (reading this on my iPhone while watching a football game on my iPod touch, by the way) I remembered that the reason why I bought my first iPod o begin with was actually your show. To this day I’ve probably bought ten or so iPods, two iPhones, and many other apple products. And to think – I did alll of this because I saw how easy they were to use once I bought the first one so that I could listen to your podcast (an others like it).

    I’ve probably bought less than fifty songs ever from
    iTunes, so I do think that he needs to sit back and think about how many customers people like you have brought him.

    Nice post! And sorry for any spelling mistakes above. I’m typing on my iPhone.

  3. From Rob Safuto at 7:44 am on September 12, 2010

    You’re off base on this one Todd. Kill new media? Steve Jobs continues to support new media more than any other large tech company CEO. How so? He put YouTube on the iPhone in the early days as a native application. He put podcasts in iTunes giving independent media producers access to tens of millions of potential audience members. YouTube is also a native app on the iPad and continues to be present on Apple TV. Recent updates to the iPhone OS include embedded podcast descriptions and the ability to email a podcast to someone.

    I agree with the others who say that you are reading too much into Jobs’ comments. You seem disturbed that the Apple TV doesn’t have “apps” like the Roku (a niche device at best), the PopBox (a disaster at launch) and the (anybody seen the) Boxee box. But why are apps necessary for podcasts? The Apple TV is meant to pair with iTunes which offers a one-click subscription for podcasts. So people can subscribe via iTunes and watch or listen their Apple TV. No apps necessary. And I believe that the type of person who buys Apple TV will be the person who also uses iTunes. Everyone wins here.

    Oh, and don’t be fooled by the first release of the new Apple TV. The box has the type of guts that will allow the OS to be upgraded. So I’m sure that a future firmware upgrade will yield the app possibilities that you desire.

  4. From geeknews at 11:03 am on September 12, 2010

    Rob

    What Apple has done, was done five years ago. They have not progressed since that point. Their decision to not include Apps in my opinion was a monumental mistake, but they did say that the Apple TV is a hobby in their own slides.

    But you missed the message and maybe I was not clear enough. Why did Steve Jobs have to slight the user generated media folks by referring to the media as Amateur hour.

    The Roku in particular is about to launch in national distribution by Netgear which has been missing to this point, but any device that can increase my show listenership by 15% gets my attention. Roku accomplished that being only available up to this point as a online purchase.

    While the Popbox was a failure at launch only time will tell, but I can tell you Samsung with their embedded applications inside their TV’s will move 6 million units while the numbers are small over a very short period of time their will be major penetration and unless Apple reacts quickly the Apple TV will be a failed footnote.

    I may be wrong but I predict they could have really hit one out of the ballpark and because Apps would have diminished the movie rentals and so forth, the only reason they did not do it was in my opinion purely financial.

    Todd..