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NBC, Time Warner sticking with Flash?

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, May 27, 2010
News Categories: Digital Media, iPad, iPhone

NBC and Time Warner have told Apple that they won’t be converting their online videos to the iPhone- and iPad-friendly H.264 format, according to a New York Post report. Citing unnamed sources, the report claims that Time Warner, NBC Universal, and several other large media companies have said they will not convert their video libraries over to a non-Flash format, citing expense and the fact that most other devices support Adobe’s software. The report also claims that the media companies feel they are in a better negotiating position following the announcement of Google TV, and the expected launch of Flash-compatible tablets from companies such as Dell and HP. Notably, CNN, which is owned by Time Warner, has reformatted its online videos to be iPhone- and iPad-compatible, and is listed on Apple’s page of “iPad ready” websites, alongside fellow Time Warner property Sports Illustrated.

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Comments

1

The tides really are starting to turn.  Apple needs to get it together.  As an owner of almost every apple product on the market (and stock), I have never felt the company was as vulnerable as it is now…

Posted by DynaMix on May 27, 2010 at 1:19 PM (PDT)

2

This NY Post article is bait article. It is clearly written by somebody who is uninformed or just plainly reporting false information.

Posted by Benjamin on May 27, 2010 at 1:33 PM (PDT)

3

Its good to see some reject Steve Jobs’ bullying. Personally, I could care less who wins, flash or html5. But I do want things working with what’s out NOW, not what will be out in five years. And as of May 2010, flash is NOW (80 percent of the world’s web sites) while html5 is a couple of years from NOW.

Posted by Dale Reeck on May 27, 2010 at 1:33 PM (PDT)

4

@#1,

That was maybe the funniest post of the week - thank you.

@#3,

In case you’ve been in a cave, Apple has some pretty strong allies here.  You might want to peruse the headlines on the subject.

Posted by sb on May 27, 2010 at 2:29 PM (PDT)

5

#1:

I’m sorry…vulnerable? Dominating the MP3 player, smartphone and PDA market (AKA iPod touch?) When Apple has just been confirmed as being worth more than Microsoft? Vulnerable is NOT the word that comes to mind. The market for Flash, on the other hand…THAT word comes to mind quite readily…

Besides, lets remember when NBC Universal did something stupid like yanking their TV shows off the iTunes store…this is similar to that, in that they want to “stand up” to Apple. And didn’t THAT work well for them when they came crawling back a year later?

Yeah. Apple’s REAL vulnerable right now. Oh, and that Brooklyn Bridge is still for sale.

Posted by Daniel S. on May 27, 2010 at 3:42 PM (PDT)

6

@#1 - Vulnerable? No. Targeted? Yes. They are not setting themselves up for a fall here. But they are putting themselves in some crosshairs. The question remains whether the media will follow without trying to “set an example”.

@#3 - You are right. Flash is on a large percentage of websites. Websites that Apple computers access just as readily as Windows or Linux systems. Flash Mobile is another story. Many non-Apple mobile devices can access SOME of those Flash sites (many still rely on cursor interaction to work). It also leads to drastically decreased battery and increased hangs/crashes. Adobe has promised Flash Mobile (actually, has promised it for a couple of years) to help eliminate some of these concerns. But that isn’t happening yet. The way Adobe has been dragging its feet, it may be 3-4 years before a truly mobile optimized product is fielded. That puts it right in time for HTML5 to have closed that gap. Not too many Android users are harping the joys of accessing Flash right now. It is still buggy on mobile/touchscreen devices.

Posted by Mitch on May 27, 2010 at 4:10 PM (PDT)

7

HA!  Who watches NBC nowadays anyway?!

Posted by Bobby c on May 27, 2010 at 4:21 PM (PDT)

8

I don’t understand everyone ######## about lack of flash. The best thing about my iPad is no flash.  No pop ups, flashing ads, screens taken over. Stick to your guns Apple flash is trash.

Posted by Greg on May 27, 2010 at 5:31 PM (PDT)

9

All I know is that I’ve gotten to know a few ABC shows because of their excellent iPad app.  If NBC were to create an app, I’m sure I’d watch some of their offerings as well.  But I’m not going to switch devices for that content.  Until they change their view, I guess I’m not their audience.

Posted by Bluespark on May 27, 2010 at 5:41 PM (PDT)

10

#3 I want things to work also, unfortunately, the one thing that consistently bogs my MBP down is flash. It pegs my CPU, slows system response down and generally PREVENTS my computer from working.

Posted by Enkidu on May 27, 2010 at 10:33 PM (PDT)

11

I’ve noted it before: iPhone OS devices, which are just about the only web capable devices regularly used that cannot handle Flash content at all, are, at most, only a couple of percentage points of all web traffic. Meanwhile, a single “stupid” Flash-only game like FarmVille attracts more unique players monthly than have ever owned an iPhone OS device.

Unless you have an iPad/iPhone user targeted demographic for your web content, making it iPhone OS compatible (or not) will have no appreciable effect upon your traffic, so why would Time Warner and NBC go to the considerable expense to change for a company that isn’t offering them *anything* in the equation?

If Microsoft, which still holds about 2/3rds of browser share for some reason, wanted to declare they were no longer supporting Flash in IE, you’d see change overnight from all these web sites, but Apple has greatly deluded themselves (and, apparently, their fans based on the typical “Flash SUCKS!” rants the comments for these stories inevitably devolve into) as to their importance in the web content market.

Apple wants these corporations to cover the expense of letting Apple cut corners and inflate the capabilities of their devices, well, big surprise, not everyone is biting at subsidizing Apple’s stock prices.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on May 28, 2010 at 5:52 AM (PDT)

12

I’m genuinely looking forward to see how popular the NBC and Times Warner Media Services compared to Media Services provided using more open technologies.
I’m also looking forward to seeing how “most other devices” perform running Flash-based media services, keeping in mind that FLV video has to be decoded in software on *any* devices since *no* current or historic device does support or has ever supported hardware FLV decoding.

Posted by Dan Woods on May 28, 2010 at 6:26 AM (PDT)

13

I guess they don’t want me or the millions of other iPad users to watch their shows or, more importantly, the advertisements. Strange business model but good luck with that!

Posted by davjaxn on May 28, 2010 at 7:03 AM (PDT)

14

To all,
perhaps the wording was a little dramatic.  Let me rephrase.  I’ve always put my faith in Apple because I felt that they genuinely cared about giving their customers the best experience possible.  However the competition that Android is bringing to Apple has to be noticed.  Has anyone here used an Android phone?  The free turn by turn voice navi?  The voice to text?  Now flash?  Froyo apparently runs faster THAN AN IPAD in tests I keep reading about.  And we had to wait 4 OSs to get multitasking???  I seriously can’t be the only one who feels Apple is keeping up with the times…
So by vulnerable, I don’t mean in terms of capitalization (which I will readily admit, Apple surpassing/equaling Microsoft is a HUGE accomplishment), I mean in terms of being “knocked off the throne.”  I think perception is starting to change in terms of who is being the most innovative and trying to “change the game.”  Tell me you are not excited about Google TV, the EVO 4G, etc…
Let’s remember - when you search on an iPhone, you use Google as the default engine (until Bing takes over).  The map application - Google Maps.  Gmail is of course supported.  It appears the world needs Google more than Apple. 
Just one man’s take.

Posted by DynaMix on May 28, 2010 at 7:15 AM (PDT)

15

@14: You are quite right so don’t let the blind fans make you feel down. By current trends, Android based devices will overtake everything except Symbian based devices within the next two years. As you also note, it is Google services, not Apple services, that the bulk of us rely upon daily for so many tasks. As me and some IT friends were joking about this past week, Apple for some reason opted to use the same play book with their iPhone OS devices as they did for the Macintosh computers and it seems to be working out just as well as that did.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on May 28, 2010 at 8:04 AM (PDT)

16

@#14,

Don’t let the boards resident Apple-hater give you a false sense of worth here.  He is deluded enough to think that by giving away phones at a 2-for-1 price, it will kill the iPhone.  Most folks realize that the new iPhone and iPhone OS are around the corner and the numbers will leap again.
And, laugh with your “friends” Code Monkey because 4/10 iPhone are going to the enterprise now - with more coming.
Have a great weekend all.  Happy Memorial Day.  Many died so we have the right to come here and blow off steam smile

Posted by sb on May 28, 2010 at 10:12 AM (PDT)

17

@sb, you believe that the numbers will leap again.  What does that have to do with innovation and staying ahead of google in terms of quality of product?  I am happy that iPhones sell well, but that doesn’t excuse sitting back while another phone offers superior features…
Granted, I have not used an EVO yet, but damn, HDMI out?  built in kickstand, bigger screen, better camera…those things don’t bother you?
And I’m with you on Memorial Day, best wishes to all…

Posted by DynaMix on May 28, 2010 at 10:57 AM (PDT)

18

I simply don’t watch as much NBC programming as I would if they had an iPad app, or if they used non-Flash streaming.  I’m sure that I am one of many.  Without calling it out, we Apple users are all basically boycotting NBC.  It certainly doesn’t help their advertising revenue.  And if a boycott of NBC by Apple users was to be called, I think we’d all wield quite a lot of power of persuasion.

Posted by TavernGuy on May 28, 2010 at 11:27 AM (PDT)

19

sb, how am I an Apple hater? I simply don’t buy into hype, and I do buy into objective data, which few on these boards do. The iPhone is going to be around a long, long time, I have no doubt, but it is rapidly headed into a Macintosh type market position where it’s going to likely remain.

Technically, there’s nothing wrong with that. There are literally millions of happy, loyal Macintosh customers out there, and it is a profitable market, but much like the iPhone OS devices, Macintosh computers are simply small potatoes in terms of the total computer market. Because of that, it is only a small core of application developers who care if their product runs on Macintosh, and the same sort of situation is here and now for web content with iPhone OS devices. Their web traffic share is already shrinking as a percentage and there is no reason to think that trend is going to turn around, so keep on sticking your head in the sand, but Apple isn’t going to make Flash go away, and they aren’t going to change NBC or TW, nor will the de facto “boycott” affect these companies in any way.

In a nation of 300 million, in a world of over 6 billion, the couple of million people who only watch content on an iPhone OS device might as well not even exist at all. Networks routinely cancel beloved shows with more people watching them loyally than the iPhone OS only crowd represents, and they only represent the after-market viewers at bargain rate advertising.

Stop deluding yourself of your and the iPhone OS’s importance in the delivery of web content, because it’s simply not an important factor.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on May 28, 2010 at 6:51 PM (PDT)

20

Using a number of 6 billion is false. You are acting as if billions of people are using online actively. Try to understand the demographics. The smaller numbers are the most important as they are the people who use online more actively and they are also the people that are buying the advertised products. Sure my dad uses the internet at 80, but does he watch NBC on the computer and would he be likely buy new products that are advertised on the show. This is not about mass numbers. This is about advertising dollars and product placement. NBC knows this and right now they are preparing for a battle that they won’t win, unless Flash were to change in some acceptable way.

Posted by Spikedstrider on May 30, 2010 at 8:16 AM (PDT)

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