OUT OF THE BOX
As always, Robert X Cringely has something different to say about where TV might be going in the world of bits and iPods. He focuses first on Apple's cash reserves:
"Apple has at this moment just under $29 billion in cash and not many good ways to get a reasonable return on that money. Only Microsoft has more cash than Apple and Microsoft is being pulled in a lot more directions so Microsoft doesn’t have Apple’s flexibility.
What will Apple do with that money?
Most of it will remain unspent is my prediction, but I’m guessing we’ll shortly see $3 billion or so per year go into buying Internet rights for TV shows — not old TV shows but NEW TV shows, shows of all types.
TV production in the U.S. is approximately a $15 billion industry. An extra $3 billion thrown into that business would change its dynamics completely. Most production isn’t done by networks but by independent producers who are hungry for revenue and risk reduction. Three billion Apple dollars spread around that crowd every year would buy Internet rights for EVERY show — more than every show in fact. Whole new classes of shows would be invented, sapping talent from other parts of the industry. It would be invigorating and destabilizing at the same time. And because it is Apple — a company with real style — the new shows wouldn’t at all be crap programming. They’d be new and innovative.
And just as the artistic heart of TV shifted to cable with HBO in the 1980s, so it will shift to the Internet and Apple."
Worth reading the piece in full.