Apple TV+…Will Oprah be Enough?

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??

Sources:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/apples-hardest-upsell-yet-11553548631?mod=e2tw

https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/25/18281243/apple-tv-plus-app-explained-features-subscription-video-service-shows-originals-channels

11 comments

  1. dilillomelissa · · Reply

    Awesome post! I heard about the new services Apple was offering this week and it looks like they are really going for it (per usual). They will surely be generating revenue from every angle. Netflix is also my go-to currently, and I don’t see that changing any time soon, even with all these new services. I’m sure I say this now, but I could see myself caving in the furture for Disney’s content platform. The fact that Disney owns basically everything is going to start getting frustrating when I’m searching on Netflix and coming up with no results. I do find it interesting that people won’t even know what type of content will be on Apple TV+. There are way too many content platforms coming out at this point. I get that that is the competitive nature of things, but I just can’t manage all of them. I’m hoping I won’t feel too “out of the loop” in missing out on content with all these new platforms. It took me long enough to get Netflix!

  2. I think it’s pretty much the cost of doing business these days in the platform space. If Amazon and Google offer streaming music and video, it seems that apple will need to as well, else its just an opportunity for consumers to go elsewhere.

  3. Apple used to be an innovator, first to market with top-shelf tech that was almost too good to be true, but recently they have fallen behind the curve significantly. Apple TV+ is another example of this. At some point, we are going to be oversubscribed, networked and digitally social to the point that people will start to cut back. In order for Apple TV+ to break into this industry successfully, they need to provide more value at a lower price point than competitors. With huge established PPV networks like HBO and Showtime, closely being chased by Netflix and Amazon, I can’t say that Apple TV is going to fill be filling a voids in my life anytime soon.

  4. Like you and Trevor above, I can’t say that I will soon be an AppleTV+ customer. While I can understand the competitive pressure to jump into the TV and movie streaming space, it feels as though AppleTV+, in light of the already-crowded field of streaming services, is a solution without a real problem. In particular, I think it’s interesting to note how much of a divergence AppleTV+ is from Apple’s core business model. With its massively popular devices, Apple functions as the ultimate physical and digital platform – with the exception of a few apps and features (Apple Health, Notes, etc), there is really no native content. Even with its services, like Apple Music and standard AppleTV, all of the content is generally provided and curated by third parties and affiliates. Apple’s confidence in its ability to produce both the superior content vehicle and the superior content itself might be a gamble worth taking in the long-run, but it does not seem to be a proven core competency.

  5. I think it’s a good move for Apple to finally implement some streaming service, but I think this is only enough to keep Apple in line with the competition and won’t do much to gain them any competitive advantage. Basically, they’re doing it just because they have to. However, I wonder if it’s too late of a move to really garner any significant subscriber base, and I question whether they’ll be able to create attractive enough content to encourage people to make another subscription. It takes a hit like GOT or House of Cards to really elevate a subscription service, so it will be interesting to see if Apple can make that happen.

  6. I think you make a great point when you say that buying into an AppleTV+ account means paying for shows you don’t know if you like or not yet. However, when you look at the insane amount of celeb actors that they’ve got on board, you’ve got to assume something huge is planned. It’s also interesting because I’m not sure that these platforms can be considered substitutes for each other considering the exclusivity of the content on them. Hulu, HBO, Netflix and Amazon all have original content so if you happen to be really into more than one of these shows that means you’ll have to dish out the money on more memberships. I’m curious how far streamers (producers and consumers) will go to for a good show. I predict that these platforms are going to have to start competing (or at least) lowering prices if they expect people to buy into more and more original shows. This will doubtlessly be hard on their bottom line considering how hefty the investments for original content production can be. (sidenote, I’m so curious how much Apple’s spent on production capabilities and the contracts of all these amazing actors/actresses)

  7. I agree with you I have a hard time justifying paying for more than one streaming service at a time. Recently Netflix went up on pricing, which in one sense I am not surprised due to the competition and the original content they produce, but on the opposite side I am surprised due to many competitors entering the market. Apple is a company to keep a close eye on, I think that they will reach a point where they are trying to do too many things at once, between the phones, banking, and streaming services it seems like they are boarding on the monopolistic side of things.

  8. I was not surprised to hear that Apple is coming out with their own streaming service, and agree with some other comments above that it’s a move they had to make in order to keep up with competitors. I read in an article that Apple TV+ might be added as an app on smart TVs as well, so you wouldn’t necessarily need to have a physical Apple TV cube which appeals to me, but until they announce their pricing model I am hesitant to say I will be jumping on board. I also think they are trying to capture a portion of the market that is moving away from traditional cable bundles and solely using streaming services to consume TV and other media content. If Apple can develop a competitive edge, whether through pricing or original content that people will have a hard time saying no to, or both, I think they might be able to do well, but only time will tell.

  9. Back when I was in high school I was a media pirate (shameful, I know). However, this was mostly due to the fact that I couldn’t get the content I wanted in a feasible way. Media companies made it prohibitively difficult or expensive to get the music or movies I wanted at a reasonable price or speed. Then, companies like Spotify, Apple, and Netflix made obtaining content incredibly easy and affordable and pirates (including myself) were happy to pay for content.

    In my opinion, we’re now moving back towards fragmentation which will drive piracy rates back up. I don’t get why companies struggle to understand this. I don’t want to have 7 different streaming services, and if it’s easier to pirate content then many people will do so. I can see a business case for a company which compiles various streaming services into a single platform. This is close to what Apple is trying to do, but I feel like the really missed the mark by not including Netflix in their new platform.

  10. Great article! I personally wish they had touched upon how we will be able to view the content. As a streaming service my mind immediately goes to watching on my laptop. As we know apps and laptops are not yet in-synch with one another, however, I believe Apple has touched on bringing apps to desktop. Personally, I wish they had touched on this more as consumption is key.
    The other issue I have (even though I will probably sign up) is what you mentioned with too many subscriptions. I feel like the origin selling point of Netflix and cord cutting was to save money, but with 5+ subscriptions streaming is becoming more expensive than cable.

  11. Great post! This streaming service is an interesting move. I have always been a fan of the subscription model for business. It is a low price for the customers, but will allow reoccurring revenue. Apple’s move into this space is not a surprise, but the ability for them to make it work seems to be in a gray area.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: