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Apple looking to license Disney content for video iPod

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Apple Computer may be seeking Disney's help in providing content for a new version of the iPod that would play video in addition to audio tracks.

These latest rumblings come courtesy of a Business 2.0 blog posting, in which editor Paul Sloan claims to have obtained a copy of an internal Disney e-mail referencing talks between the two companies.

"Steve Jobs has spoken with Disney President and soon-to-be CEO Bob Iger about ways to license various Disney content for a video iPod, according to an internal Disney email I have obtained," Sloan wrote. "That could include anything from clips from ESPN and ABC News to short cartoons."

On Monday the Wall Street Journal issued a similar report, saying Apple recently held discussions with four major recording companies over licensing music video content to sell through the Apple iTunes Music Store.

The reports have combined to re-energized speculation over a video iPod, which began about a year ago when Apple job postings, seeking an iPod engineer with video and WiFi experience, popped up on the Internet.

Several key Apple figures, including chief executive Steve Jobs and director of worldwide iPod marketing Stan Ng, have since downplayed talk of a video iPod, citing a broad range of issues associated with such a device.

"There is no legal way today of taking a DVD and making it viewable on a portable device. There are issues with video, and no infrastructure for acquiring that content," Ng said during a January press briefing in Sydney, Australia.

"For a player with a 3 1/2-inch screen, you have to wonder if it would be worthwhile. You can't watch video while you're jogging or mountain biking," he said.

However, the majority of Disney's core audience spends more time watching cartoons than they do jogging and biking. And as Apple's early success with Podcasting has shown, if there is a simple means for media distribution, consumers will use it to listen to (or watch) just about anything.

Analysts who follow Apple aren't shying away from the idea either. "Despite comments from Steve Jobs to the contrary, we wouldnt be surprised if Apple eventually launched some form of a multimedia iPod," Ben Reitzes, an analyst for UBS Investment Research, said in a note to clients on Monday. "We believe that real success for a video/movie capable iPod may need to come in conjunction with a new download service from Apple that can easily put content into the device. "

Already Apple has taken a few steps in the direction of a video service. In March the company hired Julia Miller away from Microsoft, where she was responsible for the worldwide marketing and sales programs for Xbox Live, the world's first subscription-based broadband-only online gaming service. It's now believed that Miller's position at Apple includes the exploration of a video subscription service, either for a portable video player or a settop device.

With the release of iTunes 4.8 in May, Apple also delivered full support for video playback to the jukebox software -- allowing users to organize and play movies in addition to audio files. A successive release of the iTunes software in late-June added Podcast support, which includes full, yet unadvertised, support for Videocasts.

In which direction Apple will go with video and iPod remains unknown, but sources told the Wall Street Journal that Apple could release a video iPod as early as September.

"We believe that an iTunes for movies and/or video could become reality by the end of the next calendar year," Reitzes said.
post #2 of 12
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post #3 of 12
Videos, Toons and Trailers, I can easily believe, but not movies. The penetration of broadband internet access is much too low to make it worthwile. On a modem line, downloading a movie takes ages, and even on normal DSL, it is cumbersome.

iTMS was such a success not least due to the fact that you got that instant gratification - click, click, listen. Buying a movie and waiting 4h for the download to complete is no good.

Furthermore, if there is any industry more anal than the music industry, it is Hollywood - to convince them, you'd need a double-strenght RDF.
post #4 of 12
At this point in time I can't see movies either. Even Tv shows are a stretch for long term viewing. It would need some new technology such as:

http://www.publish.com/article2/0,1895,1837227,00.asp

If they could get this to be able to respond fast enough for a video feed, it would be ideal.

Think about it! Pull (unroll) the screen out from the side of the unit, clip it to a support, and watch a bright outdoor viewable movie on a seven by four inch screen. That's big enough.

It would solve the battery problem as well as it uses little power.
post #5 of 12
Looking for these to hit the market before the holiday shopping season ... if they fail to get it out by then ... they would miss out on a huge opportunity to really penetrate the market even further.

Let's hope for the best
post #6 of 12
Apple could start supporting video via podcasting at first. That way the downloads would happen in the background and wouldn't cause a great deal of waiting.
Perhaps, iTunes could even have a preference setting to allocate, say, 100 megs - 1/2 gig to "video on demand". Videos that would be downloaded and available for one-click purchase with no waiting.
post #7 of 12
Quote:

Wow! Can't wait for that to be released!
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post #8 of 12
cartoons have a pretty good replay value. they are short, funny, entertaining and I know at least that I personally have watched the same ones over and over for many years.

It might be cool to have a selection of Mickey and Pluto cartoons to watch on an iPod, although it seems a sort of small segment to get into. Tv shows dont really have the same replay value and music videos are overwhelmingly lame.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally posted by Bronxite


It might be cool to have a selection of Mickey and Pluto cartoons to watch on an iPod, although it seems a sort of small segment to get into. Tv shows dont really have the same replay value and music videos are overwhelmingly lame.

Yeah, I know MTV and VH1 lose so much money.

The key to re-run cartoons, movie trailors, indie shorts, Flash animations and m-videos is that the content is CHEAP compared to movies and even music. iTMS could still send money to labels but I think they should be in the 10-cent range as they have been free on the internet for a long time.

Maybe not episodes of the Simpson's but those old Tom and Jerry's must be just moldering in a closet somewhere. Why not prototype with them?
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post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally posted by MacGregor
Yeah, I know MTV and VH1 lose so much money.

Those channels play music videos?
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post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally posted by geekdreams
Those channels play music videos?

Ha, good point. Actually that brings up the question of why there hasn't been an MTV or VH1 iPod integration yet - even non video. But by now there should be Behind the Music or Story Tellers versions on the iTMS.

And an MTV iPod makes more sense than a U2 iPod.
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post #12 of 12
Another interesting point is that this could also bode well for Pixar/Disney talks. There have been reports of Iger seen around the Pixar campus.

Looks as tho Steve was being honest when he said that he would love for Pixar to continue with Disney... but only once Eisner has left.
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