Tonight I'm writing to you from my hotel room in beautiful Alexandria Virginia where I'll be until tomorrow night after I have a few meetings on political online advertising. There are so many articles out there on my Bloglines RSS reader, that I hardly know where to start. I may have to do a marketing rapid fire list, so if I'm still awake after I finish this post, I'll give you one more quick one.
The one article that deserves some attention is one written over at the Wall Street Journal called AT&T Readies Service Uniting Internet and TV and if this is the New, New, New Your World Delivered by AT&T definition of a united offering then perhaps their product management team should visit dictionary.com. According to the article, AT&T through a new digital product called Homezone will allow users to download for a fee on demand movies (whoopee) as long as they have AT&T DSL and satellite TV from Dish Network.
Yes folks, this is just what you've been waiting for. This the TV bundled offering that I'm sure you just can't wait to have and now you'll trade in your high-speed digital cable service so you can stick a dish on your house and get slower downloads on DSL all for the privilege of downloading movies for around $3.95 a pop (my guess at the price). Oh wait, you get some more services with Homezone including the ability to listen to music from Launchcast or view photos on your big screen TV.
The only good news about this bundle is that the movies will be of higher quality than the versions currently found on the internet - you see when you need to make a movie for a small 300x250 pixel box unit you can skimp on the quality , but on the big screen you need quality. The only problem with this is that you won't technically be on an on-demand platform because it will take some time to download files. It is too bad because I wrote about this as the challenge for streaming TV shows on the internet in the post called the last few feet to the TV box. Sure you can get on-demand internet TV shows and movies but there won't be huge demand until you can watch them in high quality on your big HDTV screen.
This offering reminded me of a bad bundle that the old AT&T launched back I think in 1998. It was crafted by a product manager without any consumer input as I recall. I don't remember then name of this bundle and I asked a few people but they couldn't remember it either. What this bundle had was a kitchen sink mentality of putting all of these unrelated AT&T services together and then offering a bottom line discount. Heck, if AT&T raised chickens back then, they would have thrown that in too. Sadly, AT&T learned after wasting much time, energy, and political capital (I actually berated a product manager who was mishandling the project so badly that after he got into a car accident at lunch time, he still showed up to his meeting with a concussion) that the only good bundle is one where the services are joined together on a single technology device, not wrapped up in a discount package that the customers can see through.
According to the Journal article there will be a Homezone set top-box that connects to the internet, but this still doesn't qualify as a good bundle. You still need to have DSL and a Satellite dish to participate in this offering. It isn't until sometime in 2008 when AT&T finally delivers a TV offering courtesy of a project called Lightspeed that they deliver a TV bundled offer. Until then, just sit this one out and wait for your neighbor to get this new world delivered on demand with a 20 minute delay. Meanwhile, you can watch whatever you want with your DVR.