Back when Apple first added video to the iTunes store in 2005, I thought for certain part of their strategy would be created a new platform for broadcast-quality content without all the baggage of running a TV network or cable channel. But for reasons I don't understand, maybe not wanting to anger the networks, they never did.
I got to thinking about the issue again today when John Gruber linked to a post about Netflix commissioning some original shows that would be streamed solely to its subscribers. Gruber concluded:
Genius move, if they can pull it off.
And, if they do, when does Apple start doing the same thing? Imagine a hit show that’s only available through iTunes.
-DaringFireball, March 16, 2011
But why would Apple wait for Netflix? Why have they waited so long? There have got to be plenty of talented, Apple-loving creative types out there with great ideas for micro-shows, or even maybe major future hits. And unlike Netflix, which would have to make big bets on a couple of shows and start funding them out of its subscription revenues, Apple could add shows to iTunes and have viewers pay the freight -- and choose the winner -- directly.