Will the next Apple TV be launched with Dish or DirecTV?

Apple may decide not to reinvent the wheel for any upcoming Apple TV product. Instead of offering access to integrated live TV feeds, it may partner with existing pay TV operators. Best suited for this kind of partnership may just be Dish or DirecTV.

GigaOM and GigaOM Pro head to SXSW

GigaOM and GigaOM Pro writers and analysts are heading to SXSW: Are you? Here is a quick roundup of when they will be speaking, what they will be speaking about, and where to find them.

Analyst talks three possible routes for future Apple TV

A dedicated Apple TV set was a hot topic at the end of 2011. So far in 2012, news on that front has been relatively quiet, but a new note by longtime Apple TV set booster and Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster is reigniting the discussion.

Affine Systems gets another $5M for semantic video ad software

Affine Systems, which makes software to scan and sort the content in online video, has raised nearly $5 million in a new funding round, according to a regulatory filing. Affine’s software gives advertisers the tools to analyze online video in a way that’s similar to television.

Today in Social

Ryan Lawler makes the classic argument that video creation tools and cheap distribution will empower long-tail content. When we talked about the topic in the office, we agreed that middle-tier networks would feel the most pressure but that discovery remains a challenge. (Neither of us think the big TV networks are in much trouble.) People like hits, and popularity reinforces itself, especially via social media. Even long-tail aggregators like YouTube and Netflix pay the bills with hits; no one’s shown a business model that succeeds by offering only the tail. Is Food TV really in trouble? The DIY shows are very sponsor-friendly (even on PBS) and big brands like dealing with known quantities. Sure, YouTube may throw some funding at startup creators, and Google’s ad networks can monetize aggregations of lots of small sites. But those long-tail creators? That’s what we call amateurs.

Today in Connected Consumer

I’ll be traveling on Wednesday, on my way to the Variety Entertainment Apps conference on Thursday in Los Angeles, which I’m co-producing with my friends at Variety. Ryan Lawler of GigaOM and NewTeeVee will also be on hand to moderate a panel on monetizing the second screen for TV networks and producers. As a result, links will be late and/or limited on Wednesday and Thursday. Hope to be back in full swing by Friday.

Today in Social

Nielsen released some ho-hum analysis: TV show social media popularity correlates with TV ratings, especially among youth audiences. As Ryan Lawler details, there’s some hints of causation – that is, social media popularity might drive a lift in TV ratings – but that conclusion isn’t a slam dunk. And how solid are predictions? Can TV execs really estimate on-air success from buzz? Should they shift promotional dollars to social media to drive on-air popularity? We’re still a ways away from feeling confident in those answers.

Today in Connected Consumer

Interesting piece by Ryan Lawler showing how Netflix surpassed Comcast in total subscribers. While the significance of this is debatable (particularly since Comcast is still significantly ahead of Netflix in total revenues as well as has “contract-holds” on many of its customers), it shows how a huge number of consumers are now using Netflix as a “augmentive” option for video entertainment. At the very least, this biggest impact here continues to be on on-demand and DVD sell-through and rental markets, which have been impacted in a huge way from the growth of Netflix (as well as by Redbox).