Video on the iPad, Part Two

What a difference a day makes. Several outlets are reporting that Netflix (confirmed) and ABC are bringing custom iPad apps to market, while CBS has plans to make videos viewable on the iPad through the Safari browser. And, as Ryan Lawler points out, even NBC will have iPad-ready TV shows simply because it already uses HTML5 on the site to make videos available on the iPhone.

All of these revelations are good news, except for one thing. The fact that major distribution outlets are preparing for the iPad means they’re taking Internet video as a mass-audience behavior seriously. And that means TV on the Internet is going to change. You know how we’ve already got weird viewing windows on the Web, and how a lot of shows only keep about five episodes in on-demand rotation online? Dave has expressed his irritation with Hulu several times because of this fact, and I expect we’ll see even more limitations around free Web TV on their way. Once upon a time the broadcast TV networks had a reasonable number of commercials in their shows, but over time the sitcom experience was eroded down to 22 minutes, with dramas coming in around 44 minutes. And I’ve seen something similar happening with VOD. Some of the shows I watch through cable video-on-demand now have almost as many commercials as live TV. And I can’t easily skip through them.

The point is that free Web TV isn’t likely to be so free anymore.  That’s price we’ll pay for convenience and mobility. And beautiful new gadgets like the Apple iPad.

6 thoughts on “Video on the iPad, Part Two”

  1. Given the Netflix image is sourced from Apple’s server and Netflix isn’t commenting, I suspect it’s legit. (!!) I also suspect partners are prohibited from app announcements for X period of time so as to not overshadow the iPad reviews.

  2. None of this content has ever really been free. I think we have to disabuse ourselves of the notion that it is or ever was. The fact is, content has to be paid for by someone, either directly or indirectly.

    As soon as we recognize that the content has to be paid for, the sooner we can move a little closer to an a la carte model, whereby individuals pay a monthly/annual subscription fee, pay-per-view, subject themselves to commercials (direct payment is made by the advertisers; indirect payment is made by consumers through the purchase of the advertiser’s products) or some combination for the content they want instead of only having the ability to choose between two or three plans and pay the accompanying cost.

  3. I just downloaded the netflix app to my computer!! It’s for real, it isn’t an AFJ, it’s a REAL BOY!

  4. Yep, I see it in iTunes now. And Engadget’s blogged it, too. Poor, poor Netflix. Apple blew their own embargo and launch push I’m guessing. Ah well, still great news. BUT I want to hear more about the Marvel Comics app…!

  5. Yup, I’ll be looking for Marvel comics, various magazines and newspapers, news about Hulu or Fox video, the release of the Slingplayer app, whether the Amazon Kindle app update gets approved, and on… and on…

  6. Im also very curious about the app. I have a sub, print and online (only pay 79$ a year for both) but it gets me free iphone access. But, the IPAD app has always published something like 17.99$ a month, no thank you. I am wondering what they are doing for current subs who now have an ipad? will the regular app not WORK? Will I get a bye, will I have to pay a kicker of something ridiculous like 10$ A month?

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