Newscorp and their fellow Networks may be busy bricking their pants over Google TV, but that doesn't mean the service is actually a threat. In fact, one of the greatest dangers creeping towards Big TV today comes from an unexpected direction. Recent data indicates that the iPad may be killing television.
A survey from The Diffusion Group (TDG) found that people with an iPad are "significantly more likely" to downgrade or cancel their pay TV service. A third of iPad owners are considering killing their subscription to the Idiot Box.
12.9% of them self-reported as "highly likely" to stop paying for television. For the sake of comparison, 4.3% of all broadband users are reported as "highly likely" to kill their service. That's quite a big disparity.
In addition 27.4% of iPad owners and 14.2% of people who "intend" to buy an iPad claimed to be "highly likely" to downgrade their Pay TV service. 10% of the general broadband using population reported the same.
It seems, based on this early data, that regular media consumption via iPad makes people less desiring of a Pay TV service. If further data substantiates this claim, we could see a big shift in the way Networks treat and deal with Apple. In fact, the iPad could see a "black-out" campaign similar to the one being launched against Google TV.
But Apple has a card here that Google lacks: the iPad's wild success. 28 million sales are expected in 2011. That may be more customers than the Networks want to risk pissing off. Or it may be a number so large they feel spooked into rash action.
It's hard to predict how a giant company will react to a major shift in the environment. Panic is the usual choice.
The pressure is only going to grow as tablet sales take off. We're looking at over 50 million tablet sales in 2011. Media will be a big focus on all of them- we may even see tablets with "Google TV" on-board. It could be that this surge in tablet interest will cause a bleed-out for the Pay TV industry.
Or this could be just another case where correlation does not equal causation. Either way, 2011 is going to be an interesting year.