NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- "I've seen the future and it's covered in greasy fingerprints," Simon Dumenco, Ad Age's Media Guy, told audiences at the Ad Age digital conference today.
That reference, to the iPad, was used by Mr. Dumenco to point out Apple's tightening grip on its platforms as it transforms into a media company. According to Mr. Dumenco, Apple has control on the hardware (the iPad), how publishers create content (the software-development kit), how consumers access media (the App Store) and, since its announcement last week, advertising (iAd).
Mr. Dumenco compared Apple to General Electric, which has until recently been both a purveyor of TV sets and content. That's changed since GE agreed to sell NBC Universal to Comcast. "Apple is the new gorilla here," he said, later adding, "Apple wants to be an advertising company, too. Now we have a company that wants to be GE, NBC and Omnicom -- that's mind-boggling."
What's more, Apple is inserting itself directly into the consumer relationship, offering advertisers direct access to those consumers as well as new ad possibilities, such as one-click shopping connected to the more than 125 million credit-card accounts stored on iTunes.
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"If you were a newspaper publisher, you knew where your customer lived," he said. "Steve Jobs is taking that relationship away like [he] did with the music industry. Steve wants a bigger piece of that action: intimacy with the consumer."
Not only are publishers taking one step back from the consumer on iPad, they're moving into competition with video providers such as ABC and Netflix. "Print and newspaper looked crappy on the Kindle and now have to compete with TV shows," he said.
He's so far unimpressed with what the App Store has to offer, adding that publishers haven't yet cracked the device's potential. "So far the iPad's killer app is demo-ing the iPad," Mr. Dumenco said, quoting legendary technologist Ben Rosen.
Later in the day, Activision Chief Creative Brad Jakeman echoed that sentiment when it comes to marketers' involvement with new technology: Devices are incredibly exciting, he said, but they're also just shiny objects that distract marketers from the real issue: content.
Check out Mr. Dumenco's State of the Media white paper for more insight from the Media Guy.