The announcement of the new iPad last week, and stories like this one about CBS, has me thinking about the past and future, and the enormous disruptions to the “media” industries.
iTunes was a fundamental disruption to to radio. When combined with the iPod we could chose our own songs and unbundle the album delivery system.
For newspapers it was Craigslist. In one move the disruption of classified advertising decimated that business for local papers and vaporized 45% of revenue.
The CBS article linked above explains how Les Moonves worried about the disruption caused by an Apple program distribution model. This is a tough spot for the networks, which own valuable moneymaking assets in all of the top markets. If individual programs are widely available without the local affiliates…that is a problem.
This morning we are switching television and internet providers in my house. The new service isn’t any better than the old, just temporarily cheaper, and a little faster. They are all a rip-off of course, I’m tired of subsidizing the ESPN habit of my neighbors. All any of us really want is the programs we want, unbundled, and that option is coming. Apple will make it happen, life finds a way.
Television hasn’t had it’s Craigslist moment yet (it may come this year with an Apple TV). The local affiliates and the networks will scramble when it comes. Although, given that we’ve been able to watch other industries (add publishing) we should have learned some lessons.