“Long-Form Video Isn’t Meant for Mobile”

At the Web 2.0 Summit, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings spoke out about the effect mobile devices have on business, stating that gadgets like the iPhone, iPod, and even the iPad have “very little” effect on their subscriber base, whereas TV connected devices like the Xbox, PS3, and other set-top-boxes have a substantial impact.

I tend to agree with him—watching an entire movie on a small 3.5″ screen isn’t terribly enjoyable, and is obviously much better suited for larger television screens. Generally, the only time people watch videos on their pocket-sized devices is on long plane rides or on public transportation (when pulling out a laptop would be cumbersome).

Apple believes that the future of computing is mobile, which may be plausible for the average web-surfer, but there are many scenarios where a full-blown desktop is not only beneficial, but necessary. If Jobs thinks that mobile devices will one day rule the living room, then he may need a reality check: Netflix is a major player in the entertainment industry, and if they believe that “long-form video isn’t meant for mobile”, then it’s probably a pretty accurate assessment. The Apple TV seems to be a hot commodity, but compared to the sales of Apple’s line of mobile devices, it doesn’t even make a dent. Apple wants to push TV and movie rentals on iOS, but the simple fact may be that users just don’t want to watch feature films if they can’t enjoy them on the big(er) screen.

Apple needs to stick with want users want on-the-go: music. A cloud-based streaming iTunes service would be much more successful on iOS devices than streaming video, and considering that the iPod’s roots are in music, it is surprising that Apple still hasn’t done this. Steve: stop trying to release products that have already been around for decades, and work on that data center!


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