What The Apple TV Dares Teach Us About The Future Of Podcasting And New Media

I spent a lot of time with my Apple TV this weekend.  There is some stuff I really like, some stuff I don’t and some stuff that is changing my business plan this week.  It’s that last group I want to talk about in this piece. 

Remember, this isn’t about Apple TV Take 2 – this is about how Apple TV Take 2 will change the game.  Nobody built a business on the first (or even second) generation of the iPod but when we saw what these products "meant," we changed some things.  I suggest you do the same here.

If you want to survive, that is.

The Network Matters Again.  When you have as many choices as you have in the Apple TV, you’re not gonna wait for a show that sputters along.  You’re not going to to download it to watch later.  Apple TV is an on-demand product.  You’re going to find something that you can, simply, click and watch.  If your network is lousy, your content doesn’t matter. 

CDNs, are you listening?  Honestly, I would start marketing myself as Apple TV ready and send boxes to some of your potential biggest customers.  And, yes, S3 was down last week and you should be leveraging that undeniable fact.

HD Matters More.  First of all, remember, in 1 year, there will be no standard definition broadcasting.  The government in all of her neverending wisdom is going to change the consumption pattern of your audience long before you’ll get the chance to.  All of your audience will be at HD much sooner than you think.  Be like Gretsky and skate to where the puck is going to be.  It ain’t an issue of tech, it’s an issue of this simple fact:  my 4 year old says "Dr. Kiki looks better than Sesame Street" (and she’s right).  And since my 4 year old now understands the science of fudge, I’m not gonna complain.

You’re Bigger Than The iPod Or The Format.  I’ve been on this issue for awhile with the Zune directory but … mark my words on this one, a show titled "X for iPod" ain’t gonna get the clicks a show not titled after the technology is going to get.  Sure, you could have 27 different formats for the world, or you could just have a show that works on the 27 different players.  Worried about stuffing HD onto a 2 inch screen?  Have a "Portable," "Regular" and "HD" version if you must – but stop defining yourself by your technoogy

Subscriptions Might Quickly Become A Geek Only Concept.  I don’t subscribe on Apple TV – I have favorites.  At this point Apple TV doesn’t tell me "what’s new" – I just have to click around.  They might fix this later, they might not.  You need plans for both paths.  If/whenever possible, get the email addresses of your audience – find as many options as possible to update your audience.  Yes, RSS is cool but it might not matter to Mom … ever..

You’re Only As Recent As Apple TV Says You Are.  When I decided to watch some video podcasts with my eggs this morning, Apple TV told me that Rocketboom’s last episode was on Valentine’s day, Mahalo Daily still didn’t have this morning’s show out (I’m west coast and a late sleeper – the show was out), and Webb Alert still isn’t back from a weekend started 4 days ago (which in this case is actually true – just not something one bringing up the minute news might want to report to the world).

If you’ve read this blog for any time at all, you know of my fondness for Geekbrief.tv.  Episode titles with a number, not a date, is always a good idea.  Need proof – "Leopard" was released last year and it still sounds cool yet "Office 2007" is going to be around in 2011 as the "most recent version."  Date your stuff only when it makes sense.    

Yes, They Can Tie This To A Computer, But They Won’t.  As things stand, the standalone Apple TV is my favorite podcast reception process.  The standalone Apple TV is the model that most people need to follow.  The standalone Apple TV is what I’m recommending to everyone right now.  The standalone Apple TV don’t run the premiumcast (don’t worry, it will).  Yes, there are jumps one can jump through but … why do it if you don’t have to?

If your new media play doesn’t work (at least partially) in a non-subscription world, you will die out. 

Steve, And The Steve-Like, Will Make It So That The Technology Doesn’t Matter.  I know right now that it seems like we’re always going to be in a place where we’re going to get our audience one "I’ll come over and hook you up" member at a time.  There are some who feel that "it will all happen" the day Oprah finally explains the susbcription process on a very special episode. 

It will "happen" the day the process is easier and the mechanism is braindead simple.

Did I mention that my 4 year old now watches Dr. Kiki on demand?

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