The Applification of TV


Midway through episode 41 (around the 31 minute mark) of The Critical Path Horace Dediu talks about on the future of TV & apps. In those 8 minutes he forecasts a platform that will be as popular as smartphones and tablets.

The first part is about the value proposition of a disruptive entrant in television and examining what consumers as well as advertisers hire TV to do. Turns out that advertising on TV is largely about branding, “increasing the visibility of their brands”. A challenge is getting brand managers to pay attention to the new mobile medium.

Then Dediu shifts into the applification of TV (his expression). I transcribed most of the talk here since it’s worth a lot of further thought (emphasis added):

The next big thing will be when we start looking at TV…we’re going to see a lot happening with Apple TV…

I think applification is a done thing. It’s going to happen with certainty…what we don’t know is about the timing or subtle differences….i’m skeptical of seeing the APIs announced next week [referring to WWDC, Apple’s developer conference. And Dediu was right. No announcement at WWDC on this topic.]…i think Apple will launch the hardware first and maybe the APIs will be announced the same day…might say, hey, Apple TV will run apps…so without launching new hardware they could say there’s this existing thing [Apple TV] and you have a controller in the form of an iPhone or an iOS device that you can use to control the Apple TV…

It’s where things are going ultimately. Definitely there’s an Apple TV product out there coming…we don’t know the form factor. It will run apps. 100% sure of that…what we don’t know is how much they’re going to open it up…lots of go to market issues…transtioning from where they are today…not sure of how and when it will happen…

It’s going to be another supernova in terms of what developers can do if they [Apple] open it up enough…the opportunity space of this new medium will be as great as we’ve seen on mobile phones…not so much because there will be billions of these in the hands of people in a manner of months or years but because these are going to be much more lucrative…revenue per user ..first iPhone apps at a dollar each..that was a big opportunity…then came iPad apps, which were a lot more valuable and people were willing to spend more on that….that was an incremental or marginal improvement in the economics of apps…now to the level of what would an app look like on a large screen in a different context, meaning either living room or whatever living space you may have in your home. That will change dramatically. And I think it won’t be Apple that will think of the great killer app. I think it will be developers who sort of realize that, hey, it’s not just productivity questions, or I should say, not just entertainment question we’re going to answer here for jobs to be done. We’re going to solve a lot of problems families have overall that can be only solved by a shared screen. And that’s what you’re absolutely going to hammer on. We’re going to see these great apps coming out that are just going to change the way we interact with each other, the way we interact as a family, the way we interact with other families, the way we interact with extended families and friends…and might even change the way an entertainment product is interweaved in that. So the morphing of communications, apps, and entertainment. I’m sure there will be startups galore building up new solutions there. The fact is that it will be very sticky, people will be willing to put that on their credit card and pay significant amounts of money because it’s not about viewing something you’re relating to in your pocket. It will be social . It will be shared. It will be in a completely different context. Context matters. A tablet is a different context….saying an iPad is just a bigger iPod is like saying a swimming pool is just like a bathtub. When you put a body of water in a different size then it’s a different thing. It’s a completely different context. So when you put iOS and apps on a 27 inch or greater thing then it changes character completely. And you feed it completely different kinds of data because you’re not on a mobile network. you’re not constrained by 3G..you’re going broadband, the full bandwidth..it’s going to be very interesting.

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