With today’s announcement of a Video iPod and the corresponding iTunes bump to v6.0, Apple felled 3 of my least favorite things; record store, cable company, and movie theater.
If for $1.99, I can purchase a past episode of Desperate Housewives and for a couple dollars more a feature length film, what’s compelling about a movie theater? Hell, Netflix might want to step up their digital distribution strategy (Hint, it now has to integrate into iTunes). Throw the Food Network’s, Comedy Central’s, and HBO’s worst, best, and experimental programs into iTunes and there’s as much reason for a Comcast subscription as there is for a landline telephone.
As an interesting side effect, by keeping prices below $5, Apple is effective killing Darknet usage by people with more money than patience (i.e. not students). Leaving the only reason to dig around the file sharing networks is for things not in iTunes (though even today, the bulk of music’s long tail absent from iTMS). Despite the DRM, iTunes is still my first stop for purchasing music – followed by Amazon. I suspect the same will be true of motion pictures by the end of the year.
Right now, BitTorrent is the only sustainable solution for handling the bandwidth demands of a popular podcast or video. Both iPodder and DTV offered built in BitTorrent clients very early in their development. Unless Apple also purchased miles of dark fiber, they’re going to feel the burn of multi-terabyte transfers very quickly.
I predict 2 additional features before iTunes turns 7:
- Integrated BitTorrent client
- iTMS Storefront for independent producers – with the same price points as big media.