First up today, Lost Remote‘s Michael Gay reports that MTV Networks will finally give hit shows their own websites:
Over two dozen new websites are coming from MTV Networks, inlcuding stand alone sites for shows like “The Daily Show,” “The Sarah Silverman Program,” MTV’s “Engaged and Underage” and Nickelodeon’s “iCarly.” The Hollywood Reporter says TheDailyShow.com will include video archives of every episode broadcast, and will post the new shows within hours of them airing. With these new websites, MTVN will operate over 300 websites. According to the report, the sites join a growing list of targeted Web sites that the Viacom property has launched in the past year in conjunction with its TV shows. Other sites include Comedy Central’s Indecision2008.com, MTV’s YoMomma.TV and mySuperSweet16.com and VH1’s BestWeekEver.TV
[...] Apple is looking at cutting the price of iTunes TV show downloads from $1.99 to 99 cents:
But entertainment companies don’t seem to be rushing to embrace the idea. Indeed, the half-price plan may have contributed to NBC’s decision last week not to renew its current deal with Apple (though if NBC had simply let its contract automatically renew, the current price of $1.99 would’ve stayed in place).
“I remain puzzled by Apple’s pricing strategy,” Safran insists. “Why, when it has the ability to let all prices float according to what people are willing to pay, does Apple insist on flat pricing?”
Good question. An especially good one in the wake of what some — well, just us, really — are calling “Applegate”. You know, the news that they dropped the iPhone price from $599 to $399 overnight. Apparently, no good deed goes unpunished. Oh, how quickly people forget the endless pre-launch banter over how long it would take for the iPhone’s price tag to drop.
Beyond Madison Avenue‘s Danny has one of the better mixed critiques of “Applegate”. Not only is he upset with the price retraction, but Apple’s deal with Starbucks seems to warrant this double-shot of venom:
[...] Yes, Apple made some noise yesterday. Yes, they released the long-awaited iPod Touch. Yes, they pissed off somewhere near 1 MILLION of their most loyal customers by slapping them with a $200 “early-adopter” fee on the iPhone. But that’s not what I want to talk about.
I want to talk about one of my favorite companies…Starbucks (notice the seething sarcasm here) and the asinine decision that Apple made to partner with them. In case you haven’t heard, when you walk into Starbucks with your shiny new iPod Touch, a new button featuring the Starbucks logo pops up on screen. This nifty little “feature” will show you the last ten songs played at that Starbucks and gives you quick access to purchase those or any other song from the iTunes store without having to pay Starbucks for wifi access.
Let’s examine this…first off, it’s bad enough that Starbucks doesn’t just offer free wifi already. Heck, the NYC Parks Dept. has managed to offer free wifi. Second, and more importantly, what exactly is the end user getting out of this partnership? “Woohoo, I can spend money on iTunes while I sip my over-priced coffee!” That’s not a benefit. Sorry, but giving me the opportunity to spend more money on your products isn’t giving me anything at all. And if you’re not giving me something with a feature, then don’t bother including it. Apple, you of all companies should have this hard-wired into everything you do. In fact, you used to, but this is a pretty good sign that you’re slipping. Talk about a venture aimed to doing nothing other than sucking more money out of your consumers.
OK, the Starbucks WiFi point is pretty spot-on. But, seriously… Isn’t the iPhone price drop just a matter of perceived value? It’s hard to know if iPhone owners are upset that exclusivity has diminished among their ranks, or if they’re just mad at themselves for being wild enough to spend six bills on a phone that can’t even teleport you to far-away planets. Besides, anyone who already owns an iPhone has something better than money: $100 in Apple Store credit.
Kudos to Steve Jobs for owning up to his mistake, and for pulling the old “store credit” play. That’s enough loot to get a free iPod Shuffle. Or perhaps a gold-plated iPhone cozy with a hidden GPS transponder to locate the device if it’s ever stolen or breathed-on wrong.
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