Apple’s Next Big Thing Is “Showing You What’s On TV”

By: Charles Benaiah

WOW — an über guide to navigate any content using a single sign-on. Who could have thought of that? We did.

Apple made the first part of this idea public in June at its WWDC event, where it announced a “single sign-on” plan. The strategy is supposed to let paying TV customers access video programmers’ apps without having to constantly provide logins and passwords.

Clearly, this plan is in its infancy. You won’t be able to go home today and start ploughing through dozens of video streaming apps. Right now, Apple is just working on the interface.

Apple has begun talking to programmers about providing metadata on what’s in their apps. Apple will use this information to build a guide.

A digital TV guide would have obvious consumer benefits. Apple wins, too: An easily-naivagted constellation of apps and programming would make Apple’s hardware more valuable.

If Apple’s guide becomes a popular way for people to access videos, Apple could have real power in the TV ecosystem — power it had in the music industry when it built the iTunes store in 2003. It’s a power it currently lacks when it talks to networks and studios.

TV executives like the idea of making their individual shows easier to find, but they worry that moving consumers’ focus from their individual apps to a universal guide will reduce their power to promote their other shows. No worries — we’ve sorted out all the hard parts. We know how to empower consumers and elevate brands. Apple, we’re happy to talk any time you want.