The launch of Apple TV on Nov. 1 results in the continued flooding of the streaming market.
Apple TV is launching with a $4.99 subscription fee. However, it’s also offering a year free. Apple disputes the claims that this will be an incredible cash drain. Launching with this financial gimmick suggest Apple doesn’t have much faith in its platform though. While Amazon Prime offers up to six months for free, this is with other company-wide benefits such as next day delivery. A number of other bizarre decisions may impact its performance though.
It is being reported that Apple is looking at bringing some of its content to cinemas before its own platform. This could have a disastrous impact on its performance. Audiences may be likely to view the film one-off in the cinema and then not proceed to buy a subscription to the service. More exclusive content on Apple TV would drive subscriptions up. Allowing audiences to view the content in their local theatres could result in damaged sales, especially if the film performs poorly.
Apple TV had a plan to lead the way in original content. The company sought to hire producer, writer and director J.J. Abrams to guide the platform. However, Abrams turned down the $500 million offer to instead sign a deal with WarnerMedia. This significantly impacted Apple’s strategy.
Apple’s original programming leaves a lot to be desired. It seems the backbone of the service is built on comedies, with a few dramas, documentaries and kids’ shows. There’s a few cash grabs such as a Carpool Karaoke series and a couple of stars linked to the platform such as Oprah, Steve Carell and Jennifer Anniston.
What is very apparent is the lack of brand and genre pieces. While a “Sesame Street”-esque children’s programme is sure to do sizeable numbers, this just isn’t enough. Amazon has invested in “Lord of the Rings” and “The Boys.” Netflix has developed original brands like “Stranger Things” and purchased Mark Millar’s work. It’s difficult to find an equivalent for Apple TV.
The promising “Dickinson” may be the closest that Apple steps to an original piece of genre programming. However, putting so much might behind a historical figure that isn’t too well known worldwide is certainly an issue. Jason Momoa’s “See” may also be a good attempt at this. The problem, though is that nothing really stands out from the pond of content Apple wants to produce, compared to the sea on offer at Disney Plus for instance.
The big launch tomorrow will be able to answer a lot of questions about the streaming platform. It may be that these bizarre content, pricing and cinematic decisions could cost the service though. With an increasingly hostile market, the writing could already be on the wall.