Steve Jobs Proves the Interweb Can’t Beat TV … Yet

Live media events are great, when they work. But watching live services like Twitter collapse around the Steve Jobs keynote this morning provides more great examples (if needed) why the Interweb isn’t yet TV.

While TV costs less to provide the more people watch, and me watching a show doesn’t make it less likely for it to come to your door, the Interweb still has an unfortunate tendency to explode in a shower of sparks and clang of munged gears when over-stressed during live/popular events.

Yes, you can spend your way out of this problem with fat data pipes, mirroring etc., that just takes something economical — web media — and makes it uneconomical. The web will never be a mature live mass communications medium until this scalability problem for breaking news goes inexpensively away.

Update: The Apple Store even went down briefly just now under the traffic. It was down for maintenance during the keynote, came back up, and then crashed completely for a few minutes afterward.


  1. Kind of like the difference between cooking as a hobby and opening/running a restaurant. The intarweb makes it easy to cook, but…

  2. Nice analogy. Just ’cause you can stream a few videos to friends doesn’t make you CNN ….

  3. Speaking of CNN, why not just let them cover the keynote? Or CNBC? Or anyone else for that matter? I’d bet it sets a record for weekday daytime television. If they are scared about creative control, commentary, etc. then they should just give them the feed of the Apple-approved video.

  4. Keith Mays says:

    Yes, during the event, I became as interested in the drama of which site could actually handle the traffic. Engadget kept choking, Macworld was slow, (their coverage seemed several minutes behind, but was more thorough), while was the champ, with their AJAX-y automatic content reloading. But, it does seem odd to be discussing downloading HD-resolution movies into the AppleTV, when plain text can’t even make it through.

  5. I’ve cracked the code on how to scale live event coverage. There is a way to do it. It’s not obvious but there exists a clear roadmap.