Earlier last month, Apple began to set its sights on the next decade, beginning major efforts to diversify and shift away from being an iPhone driven company largely though leadership shakeups. And earlier this morning, that shift continued. In its most evident attempt to brand itself as a service company yet, Apple unveiled several new services, including a subscription for news and mobile games, an Apple-branded credit card, and, the focus of this blog post, a new streaming service called Apple TV+.
So what exactly is Apple TV Plus?? It is a new subscription service but, unlike Netflix or Amazon Prime, it features exclusively Apple original content, meaning they have no licensed shows or movies. When it launches this coming fall (no specific date had been announced yet), Apple TV Plus will be the only way to watch this content. Apple has been spending quite a bit of money on producing content that they hope can rival that of Netflix and original content from other streaming services. They even got Oprah!
Apple TV Plus, however, is a little different in that it is not its own app. Rather, it will only be accessible through the existing Apple TV app, which was launched in 2016 and is currently a preinstalled app on all Apple iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs and is free to use. Apple TV Plus will likely have its own section in the app, but the extent of the details Apple released this morning was a brief glimpse of an Apple TV Plus row with some animations during their presentation. The service will not include ads but will require a subscription fee, the amount of which, again, has not yet been released.
With the release of this service, Apple’s basic goal is to extract even more revenue out of the existing loyal Apple user. But will they go for this? They had a similar strategy with Apple Music, which proved to be a huge success despite its late entry into the market. However, in that case, many users already used the Apple store to purchase and listen to music, so purchasing the subscription just made financial sense for people who were going to be listening to music anyway. But this service is pretty drastically different. Not only is Apple entering into a market very late in the game with a lot of competition, they are only offering original content, meaning people are forced to purchase the subscription exclusively for shows and content that they don’t even know that they like yet!
Sure, Apple’s customer base has historically been extremely loyal, with many consumers ready to purchase anything and everything that Apple releases. But will this extend to services in addition to their physical products? I think a lot of Apple’s success with their physical products has been the consumer’s desire to show off and display their products with the people around them (@everyone with Air Pods), but this sentiment doesn’t exactly extend to a streaming service.
It seems that the amount of streaming services out there is getting a little out of hand. At first, it was mainly just Netflix. Now it’s Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, soon to be Disney+, and now Apple TV+, along with a host of others. I’m not sure about most of you, but I have a hard time justifying paying for more than one streaming site to binge watch my days away on, so I currently just have a Netflix account (do I also have my friends HBO Now password to catch up on Game of Thrones episodes before the premier, and did I use Amazon Prime Video for my allotted 6-month free student trial? Yes and yes).
There’s definitely nothing wrong with having choices, but I do wonder how the continued introduction of new streaming platforms will affect the industry as a whole. With Disney’s anticipated release of Disney+, they actually plan to continue creating content for Hulu, but their contract with Netflix runs out later this year, so sadly no more Disney movies for Netflix. Now I love Disney movies as much (if not more) than the next person, but will I be willing to pay money every month for a Disney specific streaming service? It would be a no from me, and I expect from a lot of other users as well, and Disney will also be missing out on licensing fees from services like Netflix who has paid for their content in the past. And from the information I have right now, it’s a no from me for Apple TV Plus as well. I understand what they are trying to do, but with exclusively original content, I’m really not sure how widespread I see the service getting. They did get Oprah though, so I suppose with her help, anything is possible.
What do you guys think about Apple TV+, any takers out there??