Apple Inc. became a colossus by redefining gadgets including the smartphone, the tablet and the smartwatch. As it took aim at Hollywood, they are working from a very different script. Apple has been synonymous with names like iPhone, iPad and MacBook. On Friday the first of November, the company hoped that it will also be synonymous with names like Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey and Snoopy. (wsj)
Apple TV+, the company’s long-awaited streaming service, launched on Friday, 1st of November in more than 100 countries. The service is Apple’s foray into prestige content and it debuts amid the so-called “streaming wars,” which pits Big Media against Big Tech in the battle for consumers’ limited time and money(cnn). But entertainment takes Apple well outside its wheelhouse, and much about its approach to the streaming wars departs from its usual strategy.
Apple is used to charging far more for its iPhones, iPads and Macs than rivals do for their products. It controls its own ecosystem of hardware and software products and carefully rolls out new versions of its gadgets once a year at most.
With TV+, Apple is charging less than competitors and pushing its service aggressively on other platforms. A company accustomed to hits is entering a world where TV shows and movies fail with regularity. And the secretive Silicon Valley titan is contending with critical scrutiny in Hollywood that far exceeds the business’s importance to Apple’s bottom line. (wsj)
Apple’s enormous size, $100-billion cash hoard and fat profit margins means it can afford the costs of developing and distributing new content. And the more than 900 million iPhones and 500 million other Apple gadgets in use world-wide give it an enormous, built-in base of potential TV+ customers.
The launch of Apple TV+ was a big moment for the company and for its CEO Tim Cook. The iPhone’s slumping sales means Apple has to convince existing customers to pay for services on the phones and laptops they already own. (cnn)
Apple TV+ is slated to start with nine programs, including a buzzy drama about television news called “The Morning Show” featuring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. Other offerings include “See,” set in a future when humans lack sight, and “Snoopy in Space,” for children. (wsj)
It’s a big bet for Cook and the company, which is reportedly spending $6 billion on content. But it’s a bet that Apple needs to make, according to Tom Forte, an equity analyst at D.A. Davidson. “They had to diversify their business model because they were over reliant on smartphone sales,” Forte told CNN Business. “And the smartphone market has more than matured.” (cnn)
In short, if the Steve Jobs era of Apple was defined by the unparalleled success of the iPhone, the Cook era may be defined by what Apple can convince us to consume on those devices. “I view the streaming endeavor as one of the most pivotal chapters in Cook’s legacy,” Dan Ives, Managing Director at Wedbush Securities, told CNN Business. “Ultimately, the success or failure of Apple’s streaming initiative is going to play a big role in the company’s ability to further monetize its 900 million iPhone customers worldwide.”
Despite a saturated market with an abundance of options, some like Katy Huberty, an equity analyst at Morgan Stanley, are bullish on Apple’s chances.
“We estimate Apple TV+ can become a $9 billion revenue business with 136 million paid subscribers by
[fiscal year 2025]
, assuming just one in every 10 Apple user pays for the service by [fiscal year 2025],” Huberty wrote in a note last week. Wedbush Securities’ Ives also believes Apple can be a strong competitor in the streaming wars. (cnn)
The streaming landscape is going to change drastically in the next couple of weeks. Right now, the big names in streaming are Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and HBO. It’s been this way for years now.
But on Friday, Apple joined the fray. And in about two weeks, Disney, the 800-pound gorilla, will enter the picture. The competition is about to heat up. Apple and Disney are about to raise the bar for what people expect out of streaming services in terms of quantity, quality, and price. (business insider)
Critical reviews of the offerings on Apple TV+ have been mixed. Time said “The Morning Show” lacks the depth and spirit of top TV shows, while New York Media’s Vulture called it a “glossy, largely compelling new series.” Hollywood-focused Variety’s critics found fault with other Apple shows, saying none was “stellar enough to justify someone buying in to a whole new streaming service.”
An Apple spokesman declined to comment. “Honestly the world should give Apple a little leeway,” said “See” executive producer Francis Lawrence. “Nobody can be perfect 100% of the time.”
Hollywood is central to Chief Executive Tim Cook’s effort to refashion Apple as a services company as sales have slowed for its original products. Sales of its bread-and-butter iPhone fell 14% for the fiscal year ended in September, dragging the company’s total revenue down 2% to $260.17 billion. (cnn)
New Apple Originals debuting in the coming months include series “Servant” (November 28), “Truth Be Told” (December 6) and “Little America,” and movies “Hala” and “The Banker.”
To subscribe to Apple TV+ and watch Apple Originals, customers can simply open the Apple TV app or visit tv.apple.com to sign up for the service for $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. Customers who purchase a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch or Mac starting September 10, 2019 will receive one year of Apple TV+ for free. In addition, students around the world who subscribe to the Apple Music student plan can enjoy Apple TV+ for free on the Apple TV app or at tv.apple.com. (apple.com)
Apple TV+ is set to cause a massive stir amongst other streaming platforms because Apple already has almost a billion users across all their products. So their only problem is to convince individuals to subscribe to the streaming service and they are already doing that by offering lower subscription costs and they plan on delivering more quality Apple developed content. HouseHold names in the streaming industry like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon will do well to take Apple’s Tv+ streaming platform as a strong, capable and future competitor.
Compiled by Michael Osuji
Featured Image credit to TechHive