Survey Suggests U.S. Consumers Interested in Rumored Apple iTV

Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty issued findings this week regarding the much anticipated and perhaps never-to-be-realized “iTV.” Huberty surveyed 1,568 heads of households in the U.S., asking about smart TV habits. According to her results, 18 percent of those surveyed own smart TVs and 11 percent said they would be “extremely interested” in buying an Apple-branded TV. That percentage translates to 13 million units in the U.S. alone.

Those who already own Apple products were four times more interested in buying an iTV than those without. Perhaps most notable: “46 percent of respondents were willing to pay over $1,000 for an iTV and 10 percent were willing to pay over $2,000. On average, respondents were willing to pony up $1,060, a 20 percent premium over the the average $884 they paid for their current TV set.”

“Bottom line: iTV represents a $13 billion opportunity that could add $4.50 to Apple’s EPS,” suggests Fortune.

Huberty notes three potential “go-to market” strategies: 1) Apple becoming a virtual cable service provider; 2) Apple partnering with pay TV carriers and replacing their set-top box; or 3) Apple bundling its TV with its own digital media receiver.

“Because Apple’s biggest media-device successes (iPod, iPhone, iPad) have been end-to-end solutions — including hardware, operating system and the packaging and distribution of content — Huberty favors the third option,” notes the article.

Rumor Update: Apple to Partner with Sharp, not Samsung, on 2012 iTV

  • Add the following news to the growing collection of Apple rumors we’ve heard in the last month…
  • Mashable reports: “Apple’s relationship with Samsung has deteriorated, and the Cupertino giant may be working with Sharp on the next generation displays for upcoming devices such as the iPad 3, iPhone 5 and a little something called iTV, claims Jefferies analyst Peter Misek.”
  • According to Misek, the mythical Apple smart TV, which has been a popular subject of recent speculation, is not just a rumor. “Sharp is working on modified amorphous TFT LCD panels for the device,” indicates the post.
  • Misek places commercial production as early as February with a mid-2012 release date. The new HDTV will reportedly feature some use of Siri, Apple’s voice-activation feature.
  • While Apple has not made an official announcement yet, competitors are scrambling to prepare for another player in the market, suggests a related BGR post.

Twitter: Do People Follow People or Follow Brands?

  • Exactly who owns a media company-branded social media account is coming into question as individuals change jobs between companies and take their followers with them.
  • Lost Remote provides the Twitter account @BBCLauraK as an example. Former BBC chief political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg recently took a job at rival ITV, and changed her account name to @ITVLauraK, effectively shifting 60,000 Twitter followers from BBC to ITV.
  • The account name change raises interesting issues. “If she built the account on the backs of BBC — under its brand — does she have the legal right to shift it to ITV?” asks Lost Remote. “Conversely, if she doesn’t convert the name, the account becomes useless unless the BBC can convert it to someone else. But are people following the person — or the content the person represents?”
  • Possible solutions may include creating Twitter accounts in a person’s name, without including the brand — or creating co-branded accounts for content verticals — or even creating two separate accounts. However, co-branded accounts may be problematic if people follow people first, and brands second.
  • We should expect this to be become a bigger issue as media companies continue their interaction with social networks. ETCentric staffer David Wertheimer asks, “Who owns your followers?”

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