Things continue to move fast in the TV sector. Apple and other Web apps have certainly impacted the music industry and print publishing. Now there is a move to impact television by changing the business model. Instead of subscribing to cable for a fixed fee to get a lot of stuff bundled, Apple wants to sell TV programs one at a time, like they do with music, for a low cost per program. A recent Fats Company article best that they will succeed (see: Apple's iPad Disrupting the Network TV Business Model? I'd Buy That for a Dollar!).
Naturally, the TV industry is exhibiting broad concern over this plan. While they're want to get on the Apple's iPad bandwagon as a TV player, they are worried that lower prices will cut into their revenue streams. Now TV has its markets to protect but there are also 125 million registered iTunes users, representing a huge potential market, waiting to be tapped by someone. The main worry on the TV side is that production is expensive and each show represents a huge investment in time and money. Can they get their money a buck at a time?
The FastCompany article, which builds a story in the New York Times, suggests that they would be fools to not do this. If they do not offer programs at attractive prices, people will just steal the shows as it is not that complex to do in the digital world. If the price is right, it will convince most people not to do to the trouble and potential risk to resort to piracy. It will be very interesting to see how this shakes out. We feel that Darwin can help the winners, whoever they are, with both news gathering and impact analysis regardless of the winner as TV moves closer to the Web (see Monitoring and Measuring the Impact of Public Service Media Part Two: Addressing the Issues).