Michael White, chair of DirectTV, isn’t too concerned that Apple will introduce TV products that will obsolete DirectTV technology. And he doubts that “Apple’s interface will be so much better than DirectTV’s that people will be willing to pay for an extra box.” Speaking at an investors conference in New York last Friday, the chairs of DirectTV, Dish Network, and Comcast all made comments on their view of the future of TV and Apple’s role in it.
Michael White of DirecTV
According to Variety, Mr. White gave the impression he wasn’t too concerned with the rumors that have been circulating about Apple’s television product, whether that be a set-top box or an HDTV. He didn’t expect content providers to risk the subscription revenues from his company and upend the current business model.
The executive was quoted by GigaOm as saying, “Typically with technology, it smashes the cost structure in some new way (but) with content costs, rights fees and the cost of spectrum, it’s hard to see (it) obsoleting our technology.”
Mr. White also hinted at merging DirectTV and Dish Network, calling it logical but probably not feasible at the present time.
On the other hand, Comcast chair Brian Roberts said “I am kind of looking forward to learning more, like everyone else.” While he believed consumers like the Comcast interface, he wasn’t going to drive customers away if they preferred Apple’s. Chances are good that whatever Apple might introduce will require broadband access, which is what Comcast provides.
Rumors have suggested that Apple may announce something regarding their television product, perhaps as early as WWDC which will be held next week, but more likely later in 2012.