Cablevision made an app so people can watch TV on the iPad. They have 3 million subscribers and 50,000 people downloaded it as of April 6th. Now I love Steve Jobs too. I want him to design my phone, my house, and my next car! But why would a company invest in building an app for less than 2% of their customers? Why not just put up a mobile website with a Flash and HTML5 video player so all 3 million Cablevision subscribers, via authentication, can enjoy viewing on the iPad or any mobile device, from anywhere.
Apple had this page up on their website with a list of "iPad ready" mobile sites. It is no longer up. Selling apps makes more money! http://www.apple.com/ipad/ready-for-ipad/ Here is another list of iPad ready sites. including CNN, Time, New York Times, National Geographic and the White House.
The truth. Apps are a completely unnecessary market. Steve Jobs knows this. He is brilliant. Jobs is in the hardware business, but apps give Apple devices roots, makes the device personal to you, so much harder to break-up with Apple and marry a Blackberry! Apps keeps customers loyal to Apple. The fact that Apple makes 30% of all sales revenue from the App store and 40% of ad revenue from Mac apps is just the cherry on top of his Apple. So if you are any business executive considering an app, do yourself a favor, build a mobile website, and keep all the ad money. Live a little. Steve has enough. :-)
This article with chart compares mobile apps to mobile websites.