Not so new TV Tuesdays

Are we witnessing Apple’s first big iPod misstep? Will the analysts who have been clamoring for Apple to be more flexible with its online media pricing and offerings finally be proved right? First they said that subscription services like Napster would eat iTunes lunch. Apple needed to embrace subscriptions. While they were at it, they also said independents should be allowed to sell their music for less. Well, iTunes just kept chugging along.

When Desparate Housewives and Lost were offered for sale, $1.99 seemed a fitting penalty for forgetting to program the DVR. It’s a small price to pay to stay current with pop culture. But why would anyone pay $2 a pop for an episode of Dragnet? Who’s going to be talking about that at the water cooler on Monday. TVLand is already included on my cable bill. Dragnet… Gilligan… what’s the difference. I might pay fifty cents for my own personal copy of Marcia Brady screaming “Uhhh! My nose!” but not $2. I think $1.99 is the iTunes equivalent of the one-button mouse. It took almost 25 years to rectify that situation.

Apple’s also got to allow niche, or Long Tail, content producers to have a say in setting prices. Why cede that business to Brightcove and klickTab? klickTab is the company that deserves watching. If someone really has figured out a micro payment plan for IPTV content, it’s a whole new day. The idea that you can subscribe to the RSS feed, but only incur a charge when you download the enclosure is totally cool. Put it up there. If it doesn’t sell, lower the price until it does.

Rather than charging so much per download on iTunes, why not stick a commercial at the beginning of each of clip? Let folks download away and charge the advertiser per download. Again, a little bit of clever ad insertion technology that matches the ad to the user’s profile. Apple could charge handsomely for that.

The next step for klickTab would be ad insertion. A Google like system that matches advertisers to content, and possibly users, could really jumpstart IPTV through podcasting. Brightcove also wants to bring advertisers and content owners together, but it will do it through more traditional means – perky account execs and a healthy cut of the action.

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