Wanna Reinvent TV? Don’t Forget the Content

Apple TV
Apple TV

Horace Dediu, writing on the challenge of reinventing television, which is what several companies — Google TV and, yes, probably Apple — are trying to do:

I contend that a TV cannot be smart until the content it delivers becomes smart. The logical conclusion is that the value chain needs re-integration so that the component which is not good enough (the content) can be improved along the dimensions that users value. And it cannot be improved unless the direction it needs to go into is aligned with the direction of the disruptive innovator. I won’t repeat the theory here, but it suffices to say that whatever will change television will do so by re-defining the core product not just the tools we use to consume it.

Dediu laid out his full theory in a post called “Tele Vision,” and it’s a great read. Bottom line:

… the answer is not to graft technology onto an archaic value network, but to build a new value network around new technology.

So that’s the challenge, then, when rethinking television — for Apple, Google or anyone. It’s not just remaking delivery mechanism, but what’s being delivered.

Thinking in terms of what companies are good at, this could be encouraging for Apple, if it indeed goes down that “Apps are the new channels” route that John Gruber writes about. That model completely rethinks what TV “content” can be.

As for Google, Dediu notes the one wholly new experiment that stands completely outside the current TV programming system: YouTube.

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