Archive for March, 2010

Apple Seeks to Make TV Cheaper

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

apple-ipadOne of the many possible applications of the iPad is as a portable mini-TV, but the expense of buying a TV show via iTunes has proved prohibitive for many people.

After all, it costs essentially the same amount of money to buy a full season of a show in high-definition on iTunes as it would to purchase the same season on DVD – which can then be watched on a full-screen TV.

If Apple wants people to consider watching TV off their big screens and onto a screen as small as the iPad or even the iPod or iPhone, it needs to eliminate the pricing problem. Rumor is it’s in talks to do just that.

Apple is attempting to reduce the price of TV shows to 99 cents apiece, which is one-third of the current price for an episode of a high-definition show at $2.99. The new pricing has by no means been finalized, and there are even whispers that networks have pulled out of the talks entirely, but insiders are saying Apple is still pushing hard to get their new price point.

If Apple does, it may be able to make the iPad into a reasonable alternative to a big-screen TV – sure, it’s not as big, but for the price, it’s still high-def, and it’s still all the shows people want to see.

Is Twitter Really Worth $1,000,000,000?

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Twitter CEO Evan Williams recently confirmed that the website has received new funding of $100 million, which added to the microblogging site’s previous funding makes for a $1 billion valuation for the microblogging service. Among the investors are Spark Capital, Benchmark Capital, Institutional Venture Partners (all of whom doubled their original investment), T. Rowe Price and Insight Venture Partners.

This may seem surprising to many who questioned Twitter’s ability to make money at all with its free social media service, especially considering that to date, Twitter has yet to earn a dime. Is it realistic to think these investors are going to see real advertising money in the future?

It’s still hard to say. There’s no current online advertising model that seems applicable to a distributed service like Twitter. Twitter has proven invaluable to marketers who use it to connect with their customer base, but so far it’s yet to bring Twitter itself anything of value except its enthusiastic investors.

Ideas for how to use Twitter as a revenue-generating company vary from running keyword ads next to tweets as Google does for its searches and for blog content. However, so far there are no plans to put ads on Twitter until 2010.

Though Twitter has yet to make money for itself, this hasn’t stopped other companies from thinking they have something here. So far Twitter has turned down acquisition bids from Facebook, Google and Microsoft. Thus far, Twitter seems to be sitting on a gold mine that no one knows how to drill.