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The iPad needs content

January 30, 2010

I think my boss is one of the smartest people I know, which I suppose makes me lucky. The other day, over a rare beer, my boss told me that he thinks the iPad will be a game changer.

I tend to agree.

On this blog, I write a lot about TV. I do think TV has a problem, and this problem comes at a time that is arguably a golden age for creativity.

Let’s start with the last point. If you ask people to name their top five favorite TV shows, you will get 5 different answers from 5 different people. From Lost, Heroes, Weeds, Dexter, Rescue Me, Modern Family, Curb Your Enthusiasm, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia….

And now we hear that 3D TV has a greater wow factor in live sports than HD did.

It truly is a golden age for TV. There just simply isn’t enough time to watch it all, so we time shift. DVR’s and online watching are just some examples. We time shift in our house by watching entire shows on DVD.

It’s this last point that brings up the issue with TV. You see, we’re a Neilson Family, and have been for almost three years. I work in advertising, so we’re not supposed to be a Neilson Family. I’m also not supposed to tell you we’re a Neilson Family (if they have a google alert, this should be the end of our 3-year relationship). We have the computer on the back of our TV that logs all the TV we watch.

We’ve watched the first four seasons of Dexter, but we’ve never watched it on the TV in a way that gives it ratings. We don’t have Showtime. We’ve also enjoyed most of Weeds, all of the Wire, a lot of Rescue Me, all of Lost, and sadly, all of Life, a show we tried to watch on TV, but mostly watched online.

You can see the problem TV has. While it’s true there is wonderful content, it’s not true that marketers can ‘monetize this content’. Now admittedly, it’s not dire. As the Super Bowl will show, the 30 second TV spot isn’t dead. And it can still make an impact like no other marketing medium can (with the exception perhaps of digital, though digital rarely has the mass appeal of TV.)

But there is an issue. There’s a bunch of great shows, but there isn’t an easy way to get to all the masses. With so many people watching so many shows, it’s hard to reach people. With most of the media buying being done by monster media buying agencies, it’s almost impossible to compete.

So what does this have to do with the iPad? In theory, it can be the way to consume media in a way that is more friendly to marketers.

The iPad can be the thing that people use to consume media, like TV. And since the iPad knows a little bit about you, it can relate that information to marketers to create smarter ads. Smarter simply means more relevant in this case.

This is the Expedia ad delivered on a daily basis. The reason is that the iPad is only for consuming media. Even the kinds of shows that one watches tells marketers a bit more about the person watching. More so than out of touch Neilson ratings that have no idea that I’ve watched a single episode of Lost, Rescue Me or Dexter — to name just a few.

So I think it could be a game changer because it can help marketers offer more relevant content.

The key will be for content creators to embrace the technology. Then for marketers to figure out how to monetize the information they get.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2010 7:28 am

    I see TV content becoming comparable to podcast subscriptions. As our lives change we will subscribe to the programs we want and play the episodes at our leisure and schedule, not the programing slots some person in the network decides.

    I think products like Apple’s iTunes and iPad become a very powerful medium to accomplish something like this in a very short period of time. This is why I think the iPad release helps solidify the leadership role of Apple in the Portable Media Consumption category.

    • April 7, 2010 8:20 am

      I agree Tim. My boss already told me that his new iPad will be “The TV in the bedroom”. It will be so much more. I think my kids will love it.

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