Ben Brooks on his preferred TV future:
Here’s an idea: let me buy the TV shows a la carte on my Apple TV — the same day the show airs. I pay you for what I want, you get a clear indication of what TV shows are crap, no one pays Comcast.
I’ll start by saying this future is exactly what I want. Whether through an Apple TV or the rumored iTV set, it’s time to rethink the television business model. The content continues to get worse. I am forced more and more to pay for channels and shows that I have no interest in watching just so I can see the three or four that I do like. Prices are trending upward, and commercials are increasingly inane and worthless to me as a consumer.
That said, the not-paying-Comcast bit is pretty far-fetched for anyone who lives in a Comcast-controlled area. Many parts of the country have only one option when it comes to net connections fast (and reliable) enough to support the Apple TV à la carte model. So our money will go to Comcast in the form of AT&T-style data caps and price increases.
That’s fine. A cable company’s gotta eat, right? Maybe, but when the new model is based on paying outright for shows, that price increase reduces the amount the average person has to spend on content.
It’s a complicated problem, and Brooks isn’t claiming to have solved it. But it’s that complication that makes Apple’s rumored expansion into the TV space so interesting. How will they do it? Will it be a device or a service? A combination of the two?
Many people jump to a conclusion similar to Brooks’s vision, only those people assume (as Brooks is not) that Apple must do it this way. It may in fact be better for everyone if Apple works within the system in some way none of us have yet imagined rather than to level the model and start from scratch.
I’m hoping for something closer to the latter, but expecting the former.