silentbrad writes: From the Wall Street Journal: "Forget the maps farrago. Look at Apple's agony over the TV puzzle. Apple is frustrated because there is no solution to TV that will let Apple keep doing what it has been doing. Like schnauzers overreacting to the postman's arrival, the tech press was in a tizzy a month ago on reports that Apple was talking to the cable industry about bringing cable's linear channel lineups to a future Apple device. But the technical feat is no technical feat. Time Warner and Cablevision managed to roll out iPad apps within days of the device's debut 2½ years ago. These TV apps proved unsatisfactory not because of any lack of Apple magic, but because only certain channels were available, and because consumers were allowed only to watch in the home (the whole point of an iPad is its portability). Even so, the Hollywood studios that actually own the shows sued saying the apps violated their contract rights. Apple's fans imagine the company can do for TV what it did for music: breaking up the existing distribution model. Forget about it. Television is about to demonstrate the inadequacy of Apple's own business model.... Can Apple CEO Tim Cook and company make the turn? Two years ago, in a column on the Microsofting of Apple, we noted that a company preoccupied with products was in danger of becoming a company preoccupied with "strategy"—which we defined as zero-sum maneuvering versus hated rivals.... A similar miscalculation led Microsoft to treat Netscape as a mortal threat and into a self-defeating tussle with a reciprocally purblind Justice Department. The Web did indeed create enormous opportunities that were seized by companies other than Microsoft, but Microsoft is still around and doing fine. Let it be said that some techies see evidence of a more rational impulse within Apple. They say Apple's browser and HTML5 support are conspicuously superior to Android's. Within Apple apparently there are teams committed to making sure Apple devices are competitive in the open-ecosystem world that is coming. The real test will be for senior management. The time to worry will be if Apple's quixotic quest for TV leads it to block more realistic solutions that emerge on the open Internet. When Apple admits defeat about TV, that may be the best sign for the company's future."
silentbrad writes: From the Globe and Mail: "The first Olympic broadcast crackled over the airwaves 64 years ago in London, as a few thousand people who lived near venues were able to pick up some events on their black-and-white televisions. The decades since then have been kind to Olympic broadcasters, who raked in billions of dollars from advertisers eager to get their products in front of the massive worldwide audiences glued to television sets. As the Games return to London, that model is coming apart... The future is so unclear that all of Canada’s broadcasters have pulled out of bidding for the 2014 and 2016 Games because they aren’t convinced the old model will still work only a few years from now as more consumers move online.... Sixty-four years after television came to the Games, the Olympic Broadcast Service employs 13,000 to produce 2,500 hours of content covering virtually every sport. Canada’s Olympic Consortium – 80 per cent owned by BCE Inc. and the rest by Rogers Communications Inc. – will send more than 5,000 hours of content to televisions, phones and computers. Unlike the Canadian broadcasters who are threatening to walk away completely because of high costs, NBC doesn’t have the luxury of sitting out the next time Olympians gather to compete. It signed a $4.38-billion deal last year that will see it broadcasting through 2020.
silentbrad writes: From the Globe and Mail: "Canada’s largest private radio broadcaster has come out swinging against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s move to start selling advertising on its CBC Radio 2 and Espace Musique stations. Astral Media, which is in the process of being sold to telecom giant BCE Inc., said it will oppose the CBC’s application to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to change its licensing conditions to allow the two secondary CBC stations to begin airing commercials.... 'Astral is fiercely opposed to seeing the public broadcaster start selling advertising,' the company said in an e-mailed statement late Wednesday, hours after CBC president Hubert Lacroix told staff in a memo of the CBC’s proposed move to sell advertising, part of an effort to find $50-million in new revenuesto offset the impact of federal budget cuts.... But industry representatives warned the move could distort Canada’s thriving commercial radio business, which has enjoyed years of steady profitability and is soon to be dominated by three of Canada’s largest telecommunications and cable firms. 'They can’t have it both ways,' said Carmela Laurignano, vice-president of Toronto-based Evanov Communications, which owns 14 radio stations, including Toronto’s Z103.5 FM. 'They’re either a private or a public broadcaster. If they can get advertising revenues and receive taxpayer funds to do their programming, the competitive balance is not the same.'
silentbrad writes: From the Financial Post: "BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc., and Shaw Communications Inc. which together control two-thirds of the $8.3-billion broadcast distribution market, are lobbying against the so-called 'a la carte' model that would allow customers to pick and pay for individual networks, arguing the change would have disastrous consequences for programmers, such as Bell Media and Shaw Media. 'A regulation requiring that all programming services must be made available to consumers on a stand-alone basis would have far-reaching ramifications,' BCE, whose Bell owns 30 specialty networks, said in a submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. 'Undoubtedly, a market shake-out, causing many specialty services to exit, would ensue.' The three big players, led by BCE, have told the CRTC they support the status quo of 'tied selling,' or the practice of grouping weaker-performing networks in with a popular channels, versus a new approach to sell channels individually.... In the race for subscription dollars, rates for TV services across providers have risen sharply over the last decade as the number of specialty channels, each commanding its own fee, has soared. Net costs to subscribers climbed another 2.6% in 2011, while average bills now hover around $60 a month.... Nonetheless, with the old TV model likely at its peak, analysts are near unanimous that change must be met with innovation. 'We believe those distributors that offer the greatest value and choice will be best positioned to defend their subscribers and [revenue],' Credit Suisse analyst Colin Moore said in a note last month."
silentbrad writes: By every account, the release late last year of Margin Call, a motion picture starring Kevin Spacey centred on a fictional Wall Street bank brought low by reckless bets during the financial crisis, was a smash success.... But Lions Gate also took the unusual step of distributing the film at the same time through the on-demand services of select U.S. cable and satellite providers. Unlike in the film, the distributor’s bet was well-placed. The revenue boost nearly doubled Margin Call’s take through the first eight weeks.... The introduction of a new “premium” on-demand window is being explored by Canadian television and wireless power Rogers Communications Inc. Analysts expect others to pursue the idea.... While Margin Call was not a blockbuster, major titles are being eyed for release through TV providers such as Rogers, which would charge as much as $60 for a one-time rental.