Not Quite Ready To Eat My Words On The Video iPod - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile
Commentary
11/22/2006
02:59 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
Commentary
50%
50%

Not Quite Ready To Eat My Words On The Video iPod

I got an e-mail yesterday from Philip "Swanni" Swann, president of TVPredictions.com, who I disagreed with in strong terms in a blog post more than 13 months ago. "Ha ha ha!" his e-mail said. "How does it feel to be eatin' them words now, biotch?" Actually, no that's not what he said. He was very polite. He said: "After this week's Nielsen dismal report on the video iPod, are you planning an update on your Oct. 17, 2005 criticism of my predicti

I got an e-mail yesterday from Philip "Swanni" Swann, president of TVPredictions.com, who I disagreed with in strong terms in a blog post more than 13 months ago. "Ha ha ha!" his e-mail said. "How does it feel to be eatin' them words now, biotch?"

Actually, no that's not what he said. He was very polite. He said: "After this week's Nielsen dismal report on the video iPod, are you planning an update on your Oct. 17, 2005 criticism of my prediction that the video iPod was doomed? :) The Nielsen numbers seem to suggest that the video iPod is, as I predicted, a flop."

Well, I read over the blog post in question, and Swanni's original, and I have to say that, alas, we were both wrong.

Nielsen Media Research reported this month that very few people are watching video on the video iPod. "Less than 1% of content items played by iPod users on either iTunes or the device itself were videos. Among video iPod users, that percentage barely improves, up to 2.2%."

I ain't gonna try to spin this -- consumers are a heck of a lot less interested in video on the iPod than I thought they'd be in Oct. 2005.

But Swanni was equally wrong when he declared that nobody was going to be interested in the video iPod--ever:

[T]he chances that iPod's video feature will succeed are thin.

"The video iPod will be Steve Jobs' folly," Swann said. "Americans will not watch full-length videos -- or perhaps even short music videos -- on 2.5-inch screens on portable devices. It makes no sense.

(Note: The above link goes to a mirror of the Oct., 2005 article -- it doesn't seem to be available anymore on Swann's site.)

While I admit to being wrong about the video iPod, I still stand by my criticisms of Swanni's post:

He argues that nobody has time to watch video on a 2.5" screen. Swanni is wrong because even in today's busy society, people have plenty of downtime, waiting at the store, at the Department of Motor Vehicles, in doctor's offices, on public transit, and especially on planes. Those people might well choose to spend that time watching video. Indeed, if you walk up and down the aisle of an airplane, you'll see they already are.

Swanni says the audio iPod succeeded because it's an extension of what people are already doing -- listening to music on portable devices. He says the video iPod asks people to do something they're not already doing: Watching video on portable devices. Swanni is wrong there on two counts: Listening to music on portable devices was, at one time, new -- and that wasn't too long ago, historically speaking; the first transistor radios came out 50 years ago.

Also, people are, in fact, already watching video on portable devices.

Things do, indeed, look pretty grim for the current generation of video iPod. But it's too early to write off all handheld video devices as doomed to fail.

Gizmodo has some interesting observations about watching video on various small-screen devices.. "I just spent over 50 hours in various airplanes watching all kinds of video on tiny screens, so let me tell you what I think.... " says Gizmodo.

Gizmodo's conclusions: The Motorola Q, which has a screen comparable to the size of the iPod video, is "hardly worth the trouble." The slightly larger Archos 404 is almost big enough for 4x3 video, but not so good for letterbox movies. On the other hand, the Sony PSP is terrific for movie watching, Gizmodo says.

"Summing up, I believe there is a big market for location-shifting using portable video players, because people are sometimes desperate for entertainment," Gizmodo says.

See, now, this is what I'm sayin'.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Slideshows
IT Leadership: 10 Ways to Unleash Enterprise Innovation
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/8/2021
Commentary
Preparing for the Upcoming Quantum Computing Revolution
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  6/3/2021
News
How SolarWinds Changed Cybersecurity Leadership's Priorities
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/26/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
This new report from InformationWeek explores what we've learned over the past year, critical trends around ITOps and SecOps, and where leaders are focusing their time and efforts to support a growing digital economy. Download it today!
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll