Apple has announced the introduction of new hardware and further information about its streaming service Apple TV+. It will be launched on November 1 in over 100 countries and will only offer exclusive content produced by Apple itself in 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos - also offline. Apple TV+ can be viewed via iOS, macOS, Fire TV, on some smart TVs and in the browser.
In order to survive in the face of strong competition from Netflix, Amazon and recently also Disney, Apple is relying on very low subscription costs: Apple TV+ will cost only 4.99 Euro per month, including family release for up to six family members. Only Amazon Prime is similarly inexpensive. Netflix, on the other hand, costs between 8 and 16 euros, Disney+ 6.30 euros. Apple has to rely on the (still) very small range of films (five films and four series) to produce high-quality content on an ongoing basis. Apple is counting on cooperation with renowned producers, directors, authors and actors such as Steven Spielberg, M. Night Shyamalan, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Anniston,F. Murray Abraham, Jason Momoa and Oprah Winfrey.
Unlike its competitors, there is no media library/back catalogue in which users can browse to find the right film for their mood, Apple promises several new films and series every month. For users, Apple&s offer is only interesting if several of the new productions find favour every month. And Apple probably relies on the fact that 5 Euro/dollar is below the pain threshold for many users and even one or two months without worth seeing new content will not lead to a cancellation.
Probably Apple will try to bundle Apple TV+ with hardware (an Apple TV+ app will be installed on Samsung SmartTVs in the future) and will rely on the attractiveness of its brand to encourage users to subscribe. Apple is also trying to get a user base - and hopefully word-of-mouth advertising - through its hardware store: every new buyer of an Apple product receives a year&s free subscription.
In the long run, however, the service is dependent on very special content that stands out from all the new films and series produced by Netflix, Amazon and Disney+ - not to mention HBO and Showtime - in addition to the constant offer of the best and most popular series produced to date, such as Breaking Bad, Mad Men and Game of Thrones.
Why Apple dares this first experiment as a producer of content (until now Apple had only sold third-party content on a pay basis via iTunes) is clear: the profits in the hardware business (especially still iPhones) are decreasing, new major innovations like new device categories are not in sight and so Apple has to focus on new business areas to maintain its market value. There is enough money for elaborate productions: Apple initially wants to invest 6 billion dollars in the new business area - for comparison: HBO produces for 2 billion dollars per year, Netflix produces and buys new content for 11 billion dollars per year.
For filmmakers and employees in the film business (including those in Germany), an additional player with deep pockets that finances interesting, special productions is good news - especially if Apple, like the other players, has to produce 30% of its films in Europe in the future 30% of its films in Europe.