Steve Jobs appeared on stage at the Wall Street Journal’s D8: All Things Digital conference yesterday for a fireside chat with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. In response to a question from the audience, Jobs explained the complexity of innovating in the TV market:
“The problem with innovation in the television industry is the go-to-market strategy. The television industry fundamentally has a subsidised business model that gives everybody a set-top box for free, or for $10 a month, and that pretty much squashes any opportunity for innovation, because nobody is willing to buy a set-top box”.
“The only way that’s ever going to change is if you can really go back to square one and:
- Tear up the set-top box and redesign it from scratch
- with a consistent UI across all these different functions
- and get it to the consumer in a way that they’re willing to pay for it,
and right now there’s no way to do that”.
With TV advertising revenues uncertain, Jobs knows the industry will be closely watching iPad’s contribution to old print media companies. Success in that market may just prompt television executives to consider a new way of thinking.