Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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The Whys of iPod Video

If you’re a sports fan, make sure you read this. It could change your life . . . well, I don’t think this entry will necessarily, but if the predictions come true it could.

Why video?

Why not? That’s the beauty of the move. By making video standard as part of the iPod and not raising the price Apple has absolutely nothing to lose. Steve Jobs has said in the past that video is not an interesting market to him and that he didn’t think a portable video player was a good idea because watching must be a primary activity (versus listening, which can be secondary). So what does he do? Make an iPod that just happens to play video. People are going to buy iPods because they are the best MP3 player on the market. Now, they just happen to play video as well. It’s a can’t lose situation and those are always good.

Why Disney?

Because Disney’s the only entertainment company out there who wants something Jobs has. He could never waltz into Viacom or News Corporation and ask them to let him sell their shows for $1.99, they’d never go for it. Not with a single song selling on iTunes for $.99. So what Jobs does is approach Robert Iger, new chief of Disney, whose major goal is to re-up their distribution deal with Jobs’ Pixar. Jobs holds all the cards and gets Iger to sign up ABC and two of America’s most popular television shows (Lost and Desperate Housewives). Now, assuming it does well, Apple has set the price themselves and other companies will have no choice but to jump onboard at $1.99.

That’s it?

Nope. There’s much more to the Disney story, and this is where it gets really interesting. Disney also owns ESPN, the be-all-and-end-all of sports broadcasting who is looking to extend their brand. Sports is where mobile video really makes sense. Imagine this scenario: You’re a commuter and a sports fan (as many American men are). Every morning you get on the train and hit play on SportsCenter, ESPN’s hugely popular daily sports highlight show. One hour train rides have never been so good. What would you pay for this? I say $20 easy. I mean, if I had an hour commute and an opportunity to watch SportsCenter on it, commercial free, every morning I’d jump at it. I expect there are a lot of other sports fans who would agree. It’s a cash cow. It’d be reason enough to buy an iPod (which I don’t own, by the way). And it doesn’t seem that unreasonable, does it?

October 24, 2005