On Wednesday Apple kicked another leg out from under local broadcasters.
We all know how important the lead-in is to the late news. If a station has a bad book, the lead-in is blamed…a good book, the network might get a slight nod.
The latest iteration of Apple TV completely eliminates the need for all ABC and FOX affiliates at night. Hard to say what percentage of users hang around after the end of prime time programming to watch the late news…whatever the number, it is not zero. Raw numbers in my market indicate a 20% audience loss for the late news from May ’09 to May ’10. You can only chip small pieces for so long. Remember, you don’t need a local station to watch ABC shows on the iPad either. Chip.
This a tough decision for the networks. They own big money making properties in large markets. I’ve heard rumors that FOX is considering getting out of the local station ownership game. Hard to believe, but I never envisioned ABC selling off all of their radio stations, and that happened some time ago.
“Well…we can’t eliminate local television stations!” Steve Jobs didn’t eliminate content by leaving Flash off of the iPhone and the iPad, he eliminated the delivery method. If local stations are the middlemen between the networks and the user that is a bad thing. The Internet eats middlemen.
A few days ago Seth Godin announced he is leaving the traditional publishing model. He will no longer use a publisher for his books. Publishers are middlemen.
Apple also announced Ping. Social networking for music. Jonathan Coulton has been doing quite well for himself distributing music on his own. Ping creates a direct link between artists and fans. No middleman (actually Apple is the middleman, as is Facebook, more in a future post). Record labels are middlemen.
Does your forecast rely on a middleman?