We all knew the iPhone was a big deal. But it has gone beyond that. At this point, every big media brand is finding a way to get on Apple's ultra hot device, along with its sibling iPod Touch, as fast as possible.
Now comes the biggest show on television. Subscription satellite radio. And one of the biggest sporting events of the year:
-Fremantle Media's "American Idol" app includes exclusive video confessionals, along with news updates and a "ranking" system for fans to pick their favorites. No full episodes (Fox isn't ready to let go of that broadcast cash cow), but plenty of ways to keep up and just enough exclusive content to probably make fans willing to pay $2. The LA Times has a good reviews here
-Struggling satellite radio company Sirius/XM isn't looking to sell an application on the iPhone, but to use it as a new distribution device for its service that might help sign up subscribers (or retain existing ones) without making the buy radios. Distributing the content via wi-fi should be relatively easy, since Sirius already streams on the Web. But getting consistent streams out via a normal cellular connection would be particularly impressive and could finally make satellite radio (still the best radio content out there, price concerns aside) mobile.
-CBS Sports, which has already made a fortune with free streaming of NCAA basketball games on the Web (selling nearly $30 million of sponsorhips already), is taking a stab at the iPhone too. Since advertising on the device is still very difficult, it's charging $5 for an app that streams every game (via wi-fi only) from the tournament to the device, along with brackets, scores and stats. And those who don't buy the app can get individual Final Four games for $2 each. Given how fanatical sports fans can get about the NCAA — especially those of us who bet money on it — this seems like it could be a really popular offering. The only obvious element missing is fantasy sports: the ability to track your own brackets. No doubt that'll be coming by next year and from numerous providers.