So I picked up a friend’s iPhone the other day to play with it and saw the YouTube application that’s pre-installed. Interesting, I remember thinking at the time, but didn’t think much more about it. Until last week.
My wife and I don’t watch a lot of television. We don’t even have the basic cable package, opting instead for the clear-reception-only package that gives us the local channels and a handful of cable ones coupled with a NetFlix subscription. Even the TV that we watch tends to be things like the Simpson’s and MASH reruns on Fox and Hallmark, and our all-time favorites MythBusters and Dirty Jobs on Discover Channel. So it took us both by surprise when the TV show Pushing Daisies caught our attention.
The problem, though, is the commercials.
Man, are we spoiled by Netflix. I remember 10 minutes of show and 3 minutes of commercial growing up. This show pushes the limit, though, giving us 5 minute of show and 5 minutes of commercial. I turned to my wife last week and said, “Forget it. I like the show, but I’ll wait for Season 1 at NetFlix instead.”
Well, this got me thinking about mobile video and broken business models. I believe strongly that tigers don’t change their stripes and, in the TV world, this means revenues via commercials. The problem is I will never sit and watch TV on my phone because on my phone I want instant gratification and no commercials. Commercials take too long, they eat up too much battery life, and they are, well, annoying.
So the question becomes how does this stuff move to mobile devices? Is it really that people won’t watch TV on these devices, as some have said? Can companies like YouTube add commercials to the front end of their videos without alienating the viewing public? Or is it, in my opinion, that none of us are willing to put up with the garbage that goes along with watching this stuff?
Someone will figure out a better model — just like Google did for online advertising. And when they do, they will be the masters of mobile video distribution. Because if I know anything about Americans, we love our television.