More live TV on iPads and tablets? Everyone wants a piece of this growing business. But who owns this space -- content providers, or traditional and expanding cable operators?
More importantly, can you count the audience -- especially when watching TV on their iPad in the bathtub? We are sure Nielsen will offer up a clean answer to this -- someday.
Right now Time Warner Cable and Cablevision are getting a lot of heat from TV networks -- broadcast, cable and otherwise - for their new mobile apps that easily funnel the TV programming experience into viewers' hands.
But for other interested parties, it's a case of ownership: TV networks executives believes those viewers are their viewers because it's their content. Cable-centric TV operators believe otherwise -- that any consumers paying for existing cable TV services, are under their control.
The future is about a closer association with seemingly restless TV consumer public. TV networks want to have a much stronger connection to viewers -- all in the hopes of more money from TV advertisers.
Think of it. When you are watching "American Idol, "Gossip Girl" or "Modern Family," are you thinking about how Cablevision, or Charter, or Comcast, or DirecTV brought that show to you?
Maybe some are. But the majority think first about the show, to a lesser extent the network, and to an even lesser extent, the video programming retailer who brought you the TV stuff in the first place.
All to say future TV apps -- from whomever -- will be heavily branded from their creators. Right now, there is confusion. Doesn't ABC have its own iPad app? It sure does. Does DirecTV? Nope. But Time Warner does. So as a viewer, where do I turn for my mobile device?
One more bit of confusion -- right now, anyway. How does one measure this stuff? If Nielsen is working on compiling viewership for TV shows everywhere, will mobile video apps be included in the mix, and multiple providers for each of those screens? Whew!
What about TV advertising that runs on those apps? If ABC has an app, and its designated retail dealer -- Time Warner, Cablevision, or DirecTV -- also has one, what happens to the commercial messaging? Do video retailers get to sell some of this time?
Yes, we all know about revenue-sharing when it comes to advertising. But someday this model will change in a big way.
Everyone not only wants a bigger slice of the pie, they may want to eat alone.