Thursday, February 28, 2013

Amazon Prime Adds More VOD Content

Content creators, even established networks like HGTV and Food Channel, are constantly seeking new distribution growth to build revenue streams.  Cable has been for a while the predominant way to view video content and the development of video on demand (VOD) offered consumers more ways to access and view.   But consumers are dropping cable and the web has become the destination for today's and tomorrow's viewer.  To reach those consumers, Scripps Interactive has partnered with a new distribution partner, Amazon.

Subscribers to Amazon prime will now have access on demand to multiple series from HGTV and Food.  Not only can they stream and watch, but consumers can purchase and download episodes as well.  While this is clearly good news for both Scripps and Amazon, I must wonder what Scripps' current distributors, Comcast, Time Warner, Cablevision and others think of this deal.  True, shows are being available to paid subscribers to Amazon Prime, but it must still feel like a competitive threat.  And while it is strictly on an on demand basis and not a linear feed of the network, viewership is moving more and more to an on demand world with the only exception being live programming.

Kudos to the Scripps team on what will be seen by many in the cable industry as playing with fire.  In the long run, deals with these alternative platforms, the ones currently disrupting the media industry, should ultimately keep the Scripps brands accessible to every home. And distribution is certainly the name of the game.

Apple, We're Waiting

Here's hoping the bloom is not off the rose, or that the shine not off the Apple.  At yesterday's shareholder meeting, Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that while the stock price isn't where it should be, the company is performing well.  "True to Apple's secretive nature, Cook didn't provide any further product details, although at one point he said the company is considering entering other categories besides its popular line of digital music players, smartphones and tablet computers."  Of course there has been a lot of speculation as to what that next product might be, like an Apple TV set or an iWatch.  

But as other companies come out with their versions of these products ahead of Apple, I must wonder if that is indeed where Apple is headed.  They have had a tendency to lead the market with revolutionary new products, not merely spit out a copied product.  What might Apple possible be able to include in an iWatch that would make it better than the other products already in the marketplace like Pebble and others. And why hasn't Apple released a competing subscription music and video service to compete with Pandora and Netflix.  What is their next big thing?

For many of the shareholders, there is still a lot of confidence in what Apple has up their sleeve.  Others are expecting more immediate moves.  I can only hope that patience will be well rewarded.