• 4 News Items Worth Noting from the Week of July 20th

    Following are 4 news items worth noting from the week of July 20th:

    Apple reports blowout iPhone sales in Q2, continuing to drive market - It was another record quarter, as Apple reported selling 5.2 million iPhones, bringing to 21.4 the total sold to date. This despite acknowledging temporary shortages during the quarter. The iPhone continues to revolutionize the mobile market, and from my standpoint is the key catalyst for both recording and consumption of mobile video. This market is poised for significant growth as new smartphones hit the market along with fixed monthly data plans. Apps like MLB.com At Bat 2009, which offers live streams of games, are certain to be hits and emulated widely.

    8 minute video of Amazon's Jeff Bezos discussing lessons learned and Zappos acquisition - You couldn't miss news this week of Amazon acquiring Zappos for around $900M, its largest deal ever. Interestingly, Amazon posted a video on YouTube of Bezos discussing the deal, but not until he walked through several maxims of Amazon's success (obsess over customers, think long term, etc.). The video is extremely informal, with Bezos flipping hand-scrawled notes on an easel and improvising funny anecdotes. It has a slightly random feel (until he gets to the Zappos part, you start to wonder, what's the point of all this?), but I give Amazon and Bezos lots of credit for using video in a totally new way to communicate with stakeholders. I'd love to see more CEOs do the same.

    Is Disney CEO Bob Iger serious about creating a subscription site for its online video? This week at Fortune's Brainstorm conference, Iger floated the idea that Disney will offer movies, TV shows and games for paying subscribers. The timing seems more than coincidental as Comcast gears up for its On Demand Online trial. Is Iger serious about this, or is it a head fake from Disney so it can try to negotiate incremental payments from Comcast and others seeking to distribute Disney content online? It's hard to tell, but I'd be curious to see what Disney has in mind for its possible subscription service. Consumers hate the idea of paying twice for anything (even paying once is not so popular), so if Disney is somehow going to create another window where they charge for access to content that's still on, or was recently on cable, that would be an awkward model.

    "Mad Men" coming to Comcast's On Demand Online trial - Speaking of the Comcast trial, I was thrilled to hear from David Evans, SVP of Broadband at Rainbow Media (owners of AMC, the network behind Mad Men) at yesterday's CTAM Teleseminar that the show will be included in Comcast's trial and presumably in rollout. David is very bullish on online distribution and the larger TV Everywhere concept, though cautioned that there are many rights-related issues still hanging out there. I'm a huge Mad Men fan (whose new season starts on Aug 16th) and the idea that I don't have to worry about recording each episode or managing space on my DVR, and that I can watch remotely when I'm on the road, all underscore TV Everywhere's value.