16 May Morris Esformes Takes a Deep Dive Into the Streaming Service Competing with Disney, Amazon and Netflix
With the current state of the market and increase in digital consumption, high-end tech companies are looking to roll out their own streaming services in hopes of gaining market share from the industry dominator, Netflix. Thus far, we’ve seen Amazon.com., Inc., increase its production spendings on Amazon Prime Video streaming services to gain momentum in the market. The Walt Disney Company, in its own effort to take lead in the market, pulled all of its films and shows from the Netflix platform to roll out Disney+, a topic I discuss in a recent blog post entitled “Morris Esformes on Breaking Down the Disney / Fox Merger.” Netflix, trying to maintain its dominance in the industry, allocated more than $6 billion to creating original content. Now, Apple is looking to expand its streaming services with Apple TV+.
Apple rolled out its original version of Apple TV, at the time called iTV, back in 2007. The first generation Apple TV allowed consumers to use the console as a seamless stand-alone device that could rent and purchase content directly from iTunes, in addition to photo streaming and podcast downloads. Users were able to watch and listen to content from YouTube and five Apple Apps with the device. Cut to now, the Apple TV allows users to download and purchase within the device, switch seamlessly between devices, and gain access to Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google, Pandora, Spotify, Hulu, HBO GO and more. The question now stands, with the roll out of its own streaming service, what will happen to competitor apps used via the Apple TV platform?
Apple Separates Itself from Competitors
Much like Netflix and Amazon streaming services, Apple TV+ will offer television shows and long-form films to be streamed to any device for a bundled monthly subscription. The company has even contracted A-Listers such as famed talk show host Oprah Winfrey, owner of HARPO Productions; Reese Witherspoon producer of award-winning mini series “Big Little Lies”; and British star Steven Knight, creator of the award-winning series “Peaky Blinders.”
Aside from signing contracts with top talent, Apple has also partnered with leading networks HBO, Starz and Showtime to roll out its own set of “Apple TV Channels.” The main difference between the services? While both Netflix and Amazon have heavily invested in original content as of late, Apple’s service will only offer originally produced content.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, announced that through Apple TV+, users will have access to all Apple-produced series, however, they will have to subscribe to another third party, such as Hulu, Amazon or Netflix for any type of licensed content, a differentiator in the increasingly crowded content streaming market. The streaming service will be available through all Apple devices, as well as Samsung, LG, Sony and Vizio Smart TVs. Apple will also enhance its “viewer experience” by continuing to upgrade its HD and MPS for viewers.
The Lead Up to Launch
With Apple TV+ set to launch in 2019, the tech company has extensively focused on marketing its original content to create excitement. Apple first released an image of all Hollywood A-listers, professional sports players and other artists that would be partnering with the company to produce content including Jada Pinkett Smith, Brie Larson and Jennifer Anniston, professional gymnast Aly Raisman, and singer-songwriter Sara Bereilles.
If that wasn’t enough to peak consumer interest, Apple highlighted a few of its original series that will be rolled out at the launch this fall. This includes two documentaries presented by Oprah Winfrey and a live stream Oprah Book Club, to which Oprah stated she intends to create “the biggest, the most vibrant, the most stimulating book club on the planet” through the Apple TV+ streaming service; a drama series titled “The Morning Show” starring Jennifer Anniston and Reese Witherspoon, alongside Steve Carrell; a comedy series from producers of hit sitcom “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”; a children’s series from the makers of “Sesame Street”; and “Little Voice” a series led by “Star Wars” creator JJ Abrams and singer-songwriter Sara Bereilles.
Apple also touts 150 available streaming apps, including Amazon Prime, through its Apple TV+ service. Netflix, however, has chosen not to integrate with the service.
Apple’s Position Within the Market
Apple has only allocated $2 billion to original content for its new Apple TV+ service, in comparison to Netflix’s $6 billion. The company hopes to spearhead the streaming marketplace with a backing of talented and creative storytellers and an overall better viewer experience than its competitors. However, the company still has a long road to winning over viewers and subscribers. While the company ran through all of its interesting content currently in production, it didn’t release any trailers or clips of that content. Therefore, potential subscribers are still in the dark as to whether the content will be worth the purchase. On the other hand, viewers would hope that with some of Hollywood’s best actors and producers the content would exceed viewer expectations.
Apple TV+ will be an ad-free service available on demand, online, offline and in 100 countries. The company has largely pushed its original content, but is also equally as focused on revamping its Apple TV app, which will be free to consumers, and work alongside its Apple TV+ service. Currently, the consumer climate is difficult to measure, but with its strong backing Apple may come out ahead of the pack.