Ladies and gentlemen, enter the Apple News iOS application, the new native app released with iOS9 that will change the media model of television.
Unless you are an iOS application developer or are a seriously geeky advertising professional, you probably have little or no reason to read the Apple News application commercial agreement structure.
However, I am a bit of a nerd, so I’ve read it! If you think about it beyond the Apple News app, it is a very interesting read.
Imagine a TV media model with the following capabilities:
1. Self-publishing. Anyone — including current content providers, brands or even consumers — can start a channel if they get approved for the Apple App Store, with no connection fee.
2. Self-monetization. Once a brand or consumer has created their own channel on Apple TV, they can sell their own ads and keep 100% of the money. One hundred percent is a lot more than content publishers get to keep today after paying Cable MSOs and other distribution costs.
3. Managed monetization. What happens if you don’t want to sell your own ads? Whether the network is for National Geographic or BM, these new TV channels can enlist Apple’s iAd group to sell on your behalf for 30% of the advertising revenue. Seventy percent is also a lot more than content publishers get to keep today.
All three of these things are true today for Apple’s News app (and incidentally, Facebook Instant Articles). What if they were also true for the ESPN app on Apple TV, say? The barrier of entry to content marketing that few brands have scaled could be significantly lowered with this new commercial model.
When Apple TV “turns on” its new iAd television media model, it will open up a new opportunity for existing content producers, unlock first time opportunities for brands that could not build their own media operations, and even give rise to a new kind of “TV ad agency model” in the future.
It seems like everyone predicts the death of TV every year because of fragmenting audiences across multiple devices — but that doesn’t have an effect on the media model. But what if Apple TV had the same number of users as DIRECTV or Comcast?
What if the content providers, brands and consumers could keep 70% to 100% of the television ad revenue with no connection fee?
Even without unlawful carnal knowledge of large publishers’ content deals, it seems highly likely that content producers and publishers would make a lot more money per view compared to the traditional TV revenue model.
There would be no behavioral barrier to overcome with consumers, either. For example, in 2015, time spent with mobile applications surpassed time spent with television — so they are clearly ready now.
All of this supposition requires Apple to scale the Apple News application commercial agreement across multiple Apple platforms, and I don’t think that is much of a jump. Apple’s maniacal consistency is legendary.
Apple will embrace this commercial model for Apple TV. Content providers will see new opportunities, brands will proliferate TV with their content and consumers will create their own networks, completely revolutionizing how we consume content, and how TV celebrities are born.
And the television media exposure model will see its first real challenge in more than 70 years.
Maybe this is what Steve Jobs meant when he famously told biographer Walter Isaacson that he had “finally cracked it.” He was talking about the TV media model, not the user experience.
The only question, Mr. Cook, is “how soon?”
How to get away with murder, indeed.