In business sticking to your knitting is usually regarded as a virtue, that is unless your name is Apple in which case you’re just about obliged to go and wreck beautifully designed carnage in other peoples piles of yarn.
I was reminded of this adage this week as I watched the Apple keynote for the second time (sad I know) before returning to playing with Spark’s new ‘Lightbox‘ service. While I was digesting the Apple announcements and browsing the Lightbox catalogue I got to thinking about the challenge Spark are facing .
Spark are trying to get a slice of the on-demand video pie, money thats currently either going locally to Sky or Quikflix or internationally to Netflix or Hulu. We know the network is capable of supporting video streaming at its current levels and for most of us it will only get better with the UFB.
Lightbox is ok but not $15 a month kind of special, running it on my iPad through my Apple TV works fine but it locks up two devices, its very easy to accidentally stop your video and you can’t save your place to start again, I can get more content for the same price on Quikflix and if I was prepared to go down the ‘Global Mode‘ or ‘unblock.us‘ path I can get the real thing, plus if I do that my Apple TV becomes a whole lot more useful.
Then I saw an ad for Spark’s new mobile payment service, again it looks solid, it is competing with the banks and OTT services like ‘square’ and ‘paypal‘. But now that Tim Cook has announced Apple Pay the game has changed, because I already have an iTunes account, I am already able to use Apple Pay whenever it launches in New Zealand.
And there is the dilemma for Spark, whilst they are dominant locally they don’t have the reach or the financial clout to go and play with other peoples yarn so they may need to focus on making their network the best it can be, launching innovative services and making sure that OTT works best on the Spark network for Spark customers.
Maybe instead of putting the money into Lightbox they’d have been better of creating their own version of Global Mode, it would have stopped customers changing their DNS settings and we know what that led to.
Oh and they also need to keep an eye on that Mr Cook and his fruit company, because a minor point in the presentation on IPhone 6 is a new technology to allow cellular calls on wifi networks.