The iPod has only been around since 2001, followed a few years later by the iPhone and then the iPad. Some competitor tablet and smartphone products also are doing very well. One of the big innovations brought about by the iPhone and iPad is the App Store, essentially mini programs in countless categories. Traditionally, when one thought of television, the major networks would pop to mind (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS, etc.) Cable or satellite TV in many cases would be a supplement to the major networks. Consumers might have access to hundreds of channels, but behavioral research would suggest that most viewers would watch perhaps a handful of channels regularly. This would mean that most people are paying for content that they are not viewing.
Living in northern New Jersey, we did not suffer the catastrophic damage that our friends, family, and neighbors down the shore did last fall as a result of Hurricane Sandy. We did, however, lose power for nearly a week. Although we had no TV access at home due to the lack of electrical power, we were able to watch live coverage of the storm on our iPhones and iPad by charging them at nearby hotels that did have power. Cable service providers and the major networks have released apps to increase the channels available for their customers to view content. Many consumers are forgoing expensive cable bills and instead opting for Netflix and other programming options.
Netflix started in 1997 as an online movie rental company. Today, it boasts 30 million subscribers worldwide. Blockbuster, which once dominated the landscape, is now a much different company and part of Dish Network. Hulu Plus reports over four million subscribers, with a rapidly growing base of those who view content on mobile devices, something they could not do a couple of years ago. HBO is available on the go and the major networks have released apps of their own. Devices like the Roku and AppleTV, as well as video game consoles, are acting as hubs for viewing content.