What Apple Announcements Mean for the Entertainment Biz

Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds the new, smaller Apple TV device as speaks during an Apple Special Event in San Francisco.
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Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds the new, smaller Apple TV device as speaks during an Apple Special Event in San Francisco.

Steve Jobs announcements today about Apple's new iPods and streaming TV rentals through a new Apple TVwill have ripples throughout the entertainment industry.

The news provides new potential revenue streams for movie studios and new threats to Google , Sony, Amazon as the competion heats up for consumers' living room.

As I reported last week, News Corp's Fox and Disney's ABC along with BBC America will be streaming TV shows for 99 cents from the Apple TV. Now NBC and CBS are watching closely —the big question is whether the volume spikes sufficiently to justify the price, half of what a digital download cost. They'll also be monitoring whether News Corp and Disney report any cannibalization of their traditional TV business. If this new streaming model is truly additive, and if it's significant, it will represent a significant step for the digital distribution model.

And we'll see whether Apple is cannibalizing its own business, — it has sold 450 million TV shows. Can the lower price for TV show rentals and the accessible Apple TV model send revenues through the roof?

This also represents a major shift away from the download model and towards streaming content from the cloud: Jobs acknowledged people don't want to download content and the Apple TV doesn't have a hard drive, which makes it cheaper, but it also means the company needs to invest more in broadband and storage space. This is a model the likes of Google, Sony and Amazon are sure to as they roll out their rival business strategies to sell content to consumers.

News Corp's MySpace is firmly in Apple's sights with "Ping" a social music discovery service. In a partnership that may be particularly meaningful down the line, Ping is powered by Live Nation Entertainment, the concert powerhouse, the product of the merger of TicketMaster and Live Nation. Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino issued a statement, saying We're thrilled to power the concert listings feature on iTunes and deliver this new and simple way for millions of iTunes users to purchase concert tickets at Livenation.com and Ticketmaster.com." Bottom line: if Ping takes off this could provide a significant new stream of people inspired to buy concert tickets immediately after listening to iTunes.

Now we just have to wait and watch the popularity of new devices, like Apple TV and the new services like Ping. As we watch the fight for the living room heat up, between Amazon's expected streaming subscription content service, Sony's content streaming through the PlayStation 3, and Google's pending web TV product coming this November, the stakes are higher than ever.

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