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  Apple Video iPod versus Sony's PSP: The war begins

First Thoughts: Okay, we have all screamed for it, now will the video iPod have the effect that we have all been waiting for? The short answer is no.

What iTunes achieved in short order was the marketing of all music for a single price, turning the backlog of music into a money generating engine, alongside new music. It effectively made buying music a better experience and extended it to people that had long since given up listening to the most recent releases. It unleashed the Long Tail of half forgotten musical tracks. For that to happen in video, the 8,000 films that Sony has hold of, plus at least another 8,000 or so from Disney, Paramount and Warner Brothers, needed to be available. Alongside that it needs popular TV series from now and in the past.

It would take Apple a year or perhaps longer to negotiate a deal with film studios that accommodated this kind of video release in the US alone and longer around the world. After all, Studios don't want to trade DVD sales for iPod Video sales, and move from a variety of sales sources into a single dominating sales channel which can then dictate prices. In the end, online video sales are the right answer. But it must be a gradual process, taking in lessons from music's past and supplanting revenues on DVDs, as they fall away.

Given the investment that all the studios are making in film materials for the Sony PSP, it is unlikely that they are planning to release all their goodies into the one Apple basket right now. What would make them do that is if the Video iPod outsold the PSP, and it won't. It's more expensive, it doesn't do as much, there's not enough content for it and the screen is too small. The resolution is also not good enough for DVD quality replay on a TV, whereas the PSP is.

Final Thoughts: The brand and design style of Apple is strong, no question, and it will give rise to quite a few sales of the device, and more video will become available and it will pick up momentum. But when we look at this in the cold light of day, the Video iPod has already been launched some time ago and it turns out that it was called the Sony PlayStation Portable.

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