/Streaming gets more crowded as Apple drops $1 billion on original content

Streaming gets more crowded as Apple drops $1 billion on original content

Apple’s behind, and they know it. In the world of Apple this is nothing new. They have often put usability and aesthetics above being on the cutting edge. They always tempered this with leap frogging their competitors, but there’s little evidence that their announcement of a new streaming service on March 25 is going to be able to leapfrog Netflix. 

Apple’s products have traditionally been revolutionary ideas that were then incrementally updated, but their streaming service doesn’t seem all that revolutionary when compared to their previous feats. 

The iMac changed personal computers from being boring, beige towers into beautiful pieces of furniture that could also get some work done. 

The iPod was partially born out of Jobs’ decision to go with a slot loading disc drive in the original iMac. Then, he realized he needed to make a real move into the music industry. The iPod revolutionized that industry changing the way we interact with technology. 

They did this again with the Macbook Air. The tiny computer that Jobs famously pulled out of a common manila envelope made it so that laptops were actually portable. 

But, their recent announcement of a $1 billion entry into the streaming service market leaves a lot to be desired. 

Netflix, HBO, Hulu and Amazon already have large portions of the market taken from Apple. Netflix alone has become synonymous with the idea of binge-watching TV series and has a large library of original content with characters that users are attached to – just read other issues of this newspaper to know how attached we are. 

Apple TV+ not only has a ridiculous name but it doesn’t really have any of that content, or a price. While the company paraded around big names like J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg, Jason Momoa, Kamil Nanjiana and even Oprah, they didn’t say anything concrete about their service and condensed upwards of ten shows into a minute-long trailer.  

The company said the product wouldn’t release in the fall and said nothing about pricing structures. 

We don’t know anything about the service, and that has some industry insiders worrying about how successful it will actually be. 

At the Gatehouse’s Hands Up for Success luncheon, Warren Buffett said he’s optimistic but cautious of Apple’s direction, and that it’s too early to know anything concrete about its success. 

“You’ve got some very big players who are going to fight over those eyeballs,” Buffett elaborated at the March 28 luncheon, “You have very smart people with lots of resources trying to figure out how to grab another half hour of your time. I would not want to play in that game myself.” 

The service likely comes as a response to Netflix redesigning the way iOS users sign up for their service that allowed them to bypass Apple’s 30% cut of each subscription, costing the company billions of dollars in annual revenue. 

During the press conference Apple also announced that they would be licensing out their currently propriety Apple TV app to third party TV and device manufacturers, so that Apple customers can experience the content they purchase through iOS and iTunes on more devices.  

This service is very important for Apple. Revenue growth from iPhone sales flatlined this year — the first time in 20 years Apple didn’t report increasing profits—and led to a nearly $9 billion drop in their stock price.  

Trouble with Chinese and foreign markets as well as ongoing legal battles with distributers meant that this move is one of many, including a game streaming service and credit card, that show the company flailing to diversify their revenue streams.  

The streaming service which Apple will call Apple TV + will launch in the fall at an unknown price. It’s hard to understand how this will fit into already tight student budgets when Netflix, Spotify and Hulu already dominate much of their precious disposable income. 

A recent study by Vindica, a company that examines how users interact with streaming services, commissioned a study that found that 70 percent of American households subscribe to average of 3.4 streaming services. It’s hard to see exactly where Apple’s offering will fit in as the market continues to grow, with others like Disney, who currently control 

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Waid Jones was the editor-in-chief of The Alabamian during the 2019–2020 academic year. In 2018, while managing editor of The Alabamian, he received the Veterans of Influence Rising Star Award from the Birmingham Business Journal. Prior to coming to UM he was in the U.S. Marine Corps for two and a half years. Jones graduated with a degree in political science from UM in 2020. He is currently the news editor for the Jackson County Sentinel in Scottsboro, Alabama.