Apps are the new channels

<tl;dr>Video is going to be big. Apps that have video in them are going to be awesome. Multimedia on your iPad/tablet device is where it’s at for learning. Read on for 3 trends that I’ve noticed.</tl;dr>

John Gruber today said on the Bloomberg TV+ for the iPad:

This is the future of TV. The full Bloomberg news channel, free of charge, on your iPad. Apps are the new channels.

I remembered reading a couple of days back, Mark Suster talking about how he invested in TreeHouse (formerly known as Think Vitamin). Think Vitamin gives you high quality video training to keep you on the cutting edge of web development. It is a curated Udemy. They both have their space – I’d like to see it like TV programming versus YouTube programming.

Some takeaway from Mark Suster’s post: American’s watch 5.3 hours of television per day! Americans read less than an hour a day!!!

Learning by video is useful. Smarter universities are opensourcing their classes — not only the slides and notes, but they’re also putting audio & video online too. Some more progressive ones are even allowing you to take part in the class via an online enrollment, completely free (see Stanford’s Introduction to Databases).

It seems that Jason Calacanis has pivoted Mahalo yet again. After some layoffs, the company is pivoting from videos to apps. The blame seems to lie on Google’s Panda updates in where highly optimized SEO sites get hit. YouTube’s affiliate fees are probably not paying the bills.

So the pivot is to make instructional apps for the iPad that not only incorporate video, but some text of the techniques behind it. See apps like Learn Guitar, Learn Pilates, How to Draw!, and Walkthrough for Angry Birds. All the apps cost USD$9.99 with the exception of the Angry Birds walkthrough.

Why will this pivot work? Because instead of the web browser and search being the medium, you’re letting the App Store be the search engine. The web browser is now the app. The videos are already made, existing in Mahalo’s bank. You can download the videos if need be (I bet they are huge). And you’re bound to find it more useful to consume on your iPad rather than on your computer screen or TV.

There are many how-to books like The Complete Idiots Guide, et al. They sell for about USD$20-30 a pop. Why not get access to videos? Read text. Learn by doing with multimedia. This was the promise of Microsoft Encarta for example.

Instructional videos are very popular. I know friends in their 20s learning how to cook or even apply make-up techniques via YouTube videos. I also know people realizing that the iPad is very handy to be reading/watching videos while on the lounge, lying in bed, etc. Its also a lot easier to prop an iPad up to learn how to play the guitar than it is to bring your laptop there. Touch will allow easier pausing/skipping/etc. compared to a remote control.

The trend seems to be that of videos. We learn by seeing.

I was in Berlin recently, and visited the Topography of Terror. I read about this and the events that are explained there for O Level History. I felt connected by seeing pictures, reading additional texts, and more. Imagine the future of education: I deep-dive into a subject like this, and I can skim things a lot easier with multimedia available to me. I’ll understand a lot better & quicker than just reading pages and pages of fairly boring text.

So, are apps the new channels? I think Gruber is on to something. As are Suster and Calacanis.

Related posts:

  1. Messenger apps revisited
  2. Apple opens up Podcasts, iTunes U in Malaysia
  3. Messenger apps, disrupting text messaging (SMS)
  4. The iPad: Early-experience notes
  5. Reading on the iPad

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