Michael White, chair of DirecTV, says he isn’t concerned that Apple will introduce a television device that will obsolete DirecTV technology. He says 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.” Mr. White was speaking at an investors conference in New York last Friday.
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.
White was quoted 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.”
With the above quote, Mr. White joined the historical line of company executives who didn’t feel threatened by new technology. This includes executives for buggy whip manufacturers, radio networks, black and white television manufacturers, and the company that made those little doodads that went in the middle of a 45RPM record.
Mr. White also spoke about merging DirecTV and Dish Network, calling it logical, but not feasible at this time.
Comcast chair Brian Roberts, who also spoke at the conference, said “I am kind of looking forward to learning more, like everyone else.” He said while he believed customers like the Comcast interface, he wasn’t going to drive away customers because they liked Apple’s. He says chances are good any device Apple might introduce will require broadband access, which Comcast provides.
Rumors are suggesting that Apple may announce something regarding their television product soon, perhaps as early as the WWDC being held next week, but more likely later in 2012.