The Apple Of My (TV) Eye

If I were a betting man -- and once upon a time, I was -- I would bet big on Apple this year.  The way I see it, if company strategists live up to their own expectations, they could revolutionize advertising (not just the TV) in 2013. This would happen if Apple television launched.

I am a devotee of all Apple products, and one of my favorites is the Apple TV “box.” I have two in my house, which coincidentally matches the number of my kids.  It may be a coincidence, but I bring it up because the Apple TV saves us thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours.  When I was a kid, my parents had VHS tapes.  Kids a few years ago had DVD’s.  All of these cost money.  I have Apple TV, and on that device I have Netflix.  I don’t have to buy DVDs (or Blu-Rays) because everything I need to keep my kids occupied when I’m tired is right there.

Of course, this has little to do with advertising -- but trust me, I’m getting there.



If Apple does indeed roll out its television product this year,  that will complete the company’s dominance in the home. Apple already dominates the mobile landscape, is pretty ubiquitous these days in the PC-element of most homes I'm familiar with, and literally owns the tablet PC market with its iPad.  If the company rolls out a television that is in any way comparable to the quality and experience of these other products, then it will be capable of delivering an advertising or marketing experience across every major entertainment screen in the digital home.  

Most important, Apple will be capable of offering data about consumer usage across all of these platforms, and delivering targeted messaging throughout the home.  That's a very unique position to be in, and one that most other technology companies would be quite envious of.

To date, the “digital home” has been a hodgepodge of different brands delivering different products.   Way back in 1998 and 1999 when the dominant buzzword of the day indeed was the “digital home,” companies like Intel, Microsoft and Sony were leading the charge.  These days Apple has supplanted most of these companies -- at least for consumers. Apple has literally become the Apple of their eye.

There are two hurdles to this coming of age for Apple in the television landscape.  First, TV sets are a much longer sell than phones.  Most homes buy a new TV every eight to 10 years, while consumers buy new phones approximately every two to three years.  The TV is a much larger ticket item as well, so more people will be willing to wait until the second-generation version and not snap up the first one out of the gate.  

The second hurdle is that Apple has not yet been successful at creating its own ad platform -- iAd was a bust in most eyes. But Apple can still figure things out.  If you own the devices, and you own much of the software that consumers use that’s installed on those devices, you'd have a ton of data.  All that data, mostly considered first-party data, could be used to craft a cross-device advertising experience to “surround” consumers in their own homes.  If Apple is successful at getting its television sets into the home and creating a user-friendly experience that integrates advertising in some way other than just standard commercials, it can achieve something no other company has ever achieved: fully integrated in-home marketing.

So that would be my bet, and I don’t consider it much of a long shot. 

What do you think?

9 comments about "The Apple Of My (TV) Eye".
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  1. Lisa W from N/A, January 9, 2013 at 11:06 a.m.

    I'm amazed we haven't started seeing more advertising via the iTunes store - after all, it knits all your Apple devices together. On the other hand, as an avid Apple user, I don't want to see advertising units in iTunes or the App Store...

  2. Norm Page from Grapeshot, January 9, 2013 at 11:07 a.m.

    That's why I used to only half-kiddingly say to folks, "Watch out for GApple - Google + Apple". Ubiquity across advertisers, technology, and media channels. Maybe a little too late now, valuation wise, but surely there's room for a strategic partnership here ...

  3. Nick D from ___, January 9, 2013 at 11:11 a.m.

    "If Apple does indeed roll out its television product this year, that will complete the company’s dominance in the home."

    No it won't; not immediately, anyway. Connected TV has negligible penetration at present, because consumers just don't see why they'd want their TV to be any more complicated. It's a very simple device - find the remote (generally the hardest part), push the on button, sit back as hundreds of channels of content are pushed out at you, with no requirement for you to do anything. This is what we've adjusted to, and this is what we want from our goggleboxes.

    It *will* change, over time, but behaviours take a long time to shift. The iPod was a niche product for 3 years before it took off, and any new Apple TV product would probably take as long; particularly since Apple's design-based structure has changed significantly since the iPad was launched.

  4. Nick D from ___, January 9, 2013 at 11:14 a.m.

    Sorry, in answer to the original question, I actually see a long decline ahead for Apple; not an unhealthy one, but a gradual contraction to a smaller, leaner state over the next 5 years or so. Competitors are catching up fast; Foxconn is starting to realise the value of the products it's making for Apple to sell, and Apple simply isn't innovating as much as it used to. It's not a terminal thing, but companies often go in waves - and Apple will slowly come down off the doozy it's been riding for the last 7 years.

  5. Herb Lair from CUO,Inc., January 9, 2013 at 11:20 a.m.

    What Apple TV could bring to table - Behavioral Based Social Media System for the Cable TV Market Cable has long history of failing to develop 1-1 target marketing,touted as the Holy Grail of targeted advertising and was less than a success. Excerpt from above link on January, 2011 – “Advertisers will spend $56 billion putting ads on TV this year...The cable industry thought it would be a big opportunity too, but its efforts have fallen short." Excerpt from above link “Advertisers have weighed in heavily on the future of TV, with both their thoughts and their considerable wallets. Advertisers are increasingly expecting to present their advertising messages to just their desired audience…and not to anyone else. For over 60 years, video advertising could only be bought via a TV show’s projected audience, which served as a blunt proxy for a certain target audience. The result has been many wasted impressions and an often irrelevant experience for consumers. In the near future, advertisers will demand the ability to target their messages to people rather than targeting their messages to TV shows as proxies for people.” The obvious alternative, with the least cost to implement is an independent Cloud CRM solution designed to cross index cable subscriber households with their corresponding social network interests. The current regulatory and privacy issues experienced by cable TV operators gathering unauthorized data from set-top boxes could be minimized, by validating subscriber and even eliminated by essentially having an opt-in plan (provided conveniently by the social media). Access along with profile and interests of households would be controlled by the subscriber’s social media platform of choice. Facebook has high consumer acceptance and could be used for household profiles, product interests, social interests, and viewing entertainment interests. There would be incentives to the subscribers to opt-in including notification and reminder of viewing favorites, Groupon type ads, and specific ads matching interests with infomercial type group discounts and urgency to buy. The current design of target marketing advertising ventures is fundamentally flawed. They focus on demographics, and fail to identify the individual behavioral current and future household interests. Project would involve developing a bidirectional Cloud interface program using a CRM application between the social media and MSO subscriber records and communicating behavioral marketing - business advertising, discounts, specific videos/groups, family albums – providing subscriber awareness of TV programming -- movies, products, etc. similar to Amazon and Groupon. This would make subscriber stickier and substantially reduce turnover.

  6. Sean Tracey from Sean Tracey Associates, January 9, 2013 at noon

    My money's (literally, in stock) on Apple. I agree with your assessment. Hope it happens.
    Sean Tracey

  7. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, January 9, 2013 at 12:10 p.m.

    I think the TV purchasing cycle is longer. Once the main change of flat TVs are made and work fine even if they only have 2 HDMI outlets, people do not have the funds to buy more. One of my box ones lasted 20 years and I know I am not the only one. One in a room that is hardly used dates to 1996. The point is that 2nd, 3rd and 4th TVs on their own work for quite awhile, not forever. All TVs will change to more encompassing, but it may take longer now that most people already have at least one changed model.

  8. Herb Lair from CUO,Inc., January 9, 2013 at 12:45 p.m.

    Something missing in design so far - Apple TV, Google TV , and Amazon will need a solution that’s TV agnostic and independent - key to design will be remote having Siri /voice interactive control, access to social media preferences for easy access to favorite movies, sports, network and cable programming; and behavioral marketing to generate target ads to better match ad revenue with content costs, zero client Cloud based, and a mobile remote , no more than a USB type security encoding memory stick to allow all TVs to emulate and remove the proprietary TV requirements. Winner has to have subscribers’ interests as their primary objective, such as Apple with music and Amazon with publishing.

  9. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct, January 9, 2013 at 5:07 p.m.

    I'm a skeptic. Nothing prevents Apple from coming out with a TV. But, will it be a game changer like their other products? Excellent question. Google TV's not a good example - because Google (like most of tech) doesn't "get" TV - the circus that is today's US TV. Will Apple be different? My own truth is that I doubt it...

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