Rivals to Apple in smartphones and tablets cannot compete against Apple’s ecosystem. Nowhere is Apple’s advantage more obvious than its iTunes, which functions as a media player and an online store for movies, TV shows, books and music plus free lectures and podcasts. Not only that but iTunes is installed on the majority of the world’s PCs, both Windows and Macs.
Apple’s lead is widening in online videos, movies and TV shows for sale or rent.
iTunes’ share of US consumer spending for online videos increased to 65.8% in the first half of the year, up from 64.9% for the same period in 2010, according to IHS Screen Digest’s “Broadband Media Intelligence.”
Apple offers Netflix on its iPads, iPod touchs and iPhones for those that want a monthly subscription video service.
At the same time, competition in online video is increasing, mainly from Walmart’s Vudu, Amazon and LoveFilm.
IHS Screen Digest attributes iTune’s dominance to:
– The studios’ and TV networks’ “evolving movie windowing.”
– Rising use of Apple’s AirPlay in Apple and third-party products and online services.
AirPlay is spreading its availability in CE devices and online video and music services. It allows users to stream video and audio from iPods, iPads, smartphones and PCs with iTunes to TV sets or stereo systems that have either an Apple TV or AirPlay embedded.
NewTek, which makes commercial grade video cameras, last week said it’s adding AirPlay in its next upgrade. Acorn Media, which offers a range of UK-produced TV shows and movies on its online subscription service, lets users stream content on its Web site to Apple TVs via AirPlay.
Apple, of course, must approve and certify the AirPlay technology that’s embedded in CE devices and online movie/music services.
Apple is dominating with one hand tied behind its back. It does not allow any other devices, except for its own, to offer iTunes. It’s not available on TV sets or Blu-ray players from Samsung, Sony, LG, Panasonic and the like.
Walmart’s Vudu increased its market share to 5.3% in 2011’s first half, up 1% compared to the same period in 2010. Vudu has been very aggressive at getting its app embedded in lots of CE gear and at offering movies as soon as they appear on DVD.
Where are Sony and Microsoft, we ask, companies that once touted themselves as being leaders in the digital media industry? And Amazon is also missing, so far at least. Their market shares were Microsoft at number 2 with 16.2%, Sony at number 4 with 4.4% and Amazon at number 5 with 4.2%.