Now that the iPad has arrived (although not specifically here, unfortunately) it’s time to look again at the impact it will have on the consumption of online video.
YouTube had its iPad app ready at launch after running on the iPhone since the early days, but of all the major TV networks, only ABC was geared up only on to stream its shows to the new device.
Netflix surprised everyone with their iPad app available in time for its launch, allowing you to stream from your queue and even continue from where you stopped watching on your computer or TV.
The New York Times suggested recently that Hulu is working on its iPad app, but that it is looking to try a subscription-based model for the first time. As loathe as I am to begin paying for content I could previously get for free, I can’t think of a better time for content distributors to introduce a paid service. A new device designed to make consumption easier and more enjoyable may be the incentive people need to change their attitudes to paid content.
So far, so interesting for content for entertainment purposes. The real issue arises around video as the key advertising medium for web browsing.
Apple is infamous in its rejection of Flash, Adobe’s omnipresent video ad delivery format. That means that unless a site has been specifically tailored for presentation on the iPad you will probably simply not see Flash video, Flash banners or any other Flash powered element when you browse there.
The alternative standard, HTML5, is a markup language that obviates the need for Flash all together. Jan Ozer at the Streaming Learning Center has taken the trouble to benchmark both Flash and HTML5 to see where the advantages lie. It’s worth wading through the techno-babble to see Ozer firmly reject Steve Jobs’s assertion that Flash is a CPU hog.
The debate continues, but if, as I suspect, the iPad becomes the key consumption device for disposable media like news and periodicals, then something will have to give. I’m not betting against Apple, but I’m also sure that Adobe will not give up ground without a fight.