The iPad is proving to be very popular, and not just with consumers. Some American networks are embracing the platform and the opportunity it represents, while others don’t seem quite so keen, at least for the time being.
The iPad is doing great business in the U.S. already, with Apple racking up sales of 1 million in just four weeks. And with the iPad’s international launch beginning this month, the future looks rosy for the first device in the burgeoning tablet market.
The iPad could be important as a driver for online video usage, as it’s intended as being a fully portable, mobile device capable of consuming all types of media. Apple’s insistence on not supporting Adobe Flash could be a problem, but not an insurmountable one by any means.
CBS currently only has a few clips available for viewing on the iPad, but looks set to change very soon.
ABC has built a dedicated iPad app, and it’s already going well for the company. However, CBS has decided to focus on making an iPad-ready version of its website instead. As Apple doesn’t support Flash, a conversion into HTML5 is currently taking place.
Anthony Soohoo, senior VP of CBS Interactive, told NewTeeVee recently:
“When we were looking at the iPad as a separate device, it had a lot more similarities to a PC in our mind…So for us, we wanted to make sure that video was available through HTML5 on the iPad first.”
Soohoo also spoke to Mashable recently, and gave the reasons why CBS is so keen on the iPad. The network likes that it turns on instantly, unlike a computer or set-top box; it’s completely mobile; the interactivity inherent in the device, which will make for new advertising opportunities.
HBO doesn’t see things quite the same way. While the premium cable channel may well be available to view on mobile devices in the near future thanks to HBO Go, that will still require people to subscribe to the channel proper.
Jeff Bewkes, CEO of Time Warner, recently stated as much in the company’s Q1 earnings call. MediaMemo translates his comments as, “The cable business is a very good business for us. Why would we want to screw with that?” Which is a pretty accurate representation of how HBO appears to be feeling right now.
The iPad is only going to grow in popularity and Apple’s pull over the networks will grow with it. I can certainly see a time when HBO and the others that are currently sitting on the sidelines have to embrace tablets or lose business, especially as the number of cord-cutters increases. Meanwhile, CBS, ABC, and the other early disciples will flourish.
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