I think the most interesting thing about the announcement of new video content at the Apple Music Store is not the fact that there’s new content - everyone knew that Apple would expand the content list just as soon as it could cut deals with the TV industry bosses - but the nature of that new content.
In particular, the oldies. The re-runs. The repeats, as we call them in the UK. Shows like Knight Rider, Dragnet, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
A lot of people have been saying how fantastic this all is, although personally speaking I’d switch off the TV if any of these shows came on, so I’m not going to be tempted to pay money to watch them again.
But it’s these old shows that are going to be the real money spinners for Apple in the next few years, just as old TV shows have become a money spinner on DVD.
The cost of licencing and converting old TV shows to a suitable digital format is a fraction of the cost of making new shows, or licencing the rights to use shows that are broadcast in peak time right now.
This is money for old rope. The iPod generation is being wooed into spending money on old content it has already seen and in many cases already paid for. Just as we bought CD copies of albums we’d already bought on tape or vinyl, and in some cases then bought the same tracks again on the iTMS. The same thing, purchased three times! That sort of brand loyalty makes record and TV company executives smile.
There’s a perceived value in nostalgia. People of my generation get a warm feeling when they hear those late 70s / early 80s new wave hits. And the same applies to some TV shows - give me the Muppets, early Grange Hill, Press Gang, Star Trek and Dr Who for download and I’ll start buying, no matter how much I feel like I’m playing into the hands of the Evil Mega Corporations.
But Knight Rider? Are you kidding?
Next it’ll be Baywatch. Aaaaagh.