Categories: AppleVideo

How Will Apple Distribute Its Original Content?

As Apple’s original video production costs reportedly balloon past a billion and given recent music video app consolidation, I wonder what sort of distribution methods the company will employ when content begins arriving in 2019. Will these shows be accessed via an Apple Music subscription (as Carpool Karaoke is) similar to Google Play Music with YouTube Red and to better take on Spotify, sold independently via iTunes, or packaged within an entirely new video streaming offering? The latter strikes me as unlikely – for comparison, Netflix had millions of customers before venturing into original content (and marketing still remains a challenge). Might they employ a multifaceted approach that also includes syndication to a Hulu or leverage existing partner Disney, with its own upcoming streaming service? And then there’s the episodic question – all at once like Netflix or a weekly trickle like CBS All Access and Hulu?

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  • "If they only offer them via Apple devices they have a problem…"

    Yeah, platform availability is the real question here. Given that Apple Music is available on Android, I expect them to replicate that here. But I wonder if they have a notion to try to reinvigorate the Apple TV business by restricting the lean-back platform, at least at first...

  • As I posted on another site recently, it's possible (though I wouldn't necessarily say it's probable) that Apple decides to offer their original video content for free exclusively on recent model Apple devices: Apple TVs, iPhones and iPads. Apple has historically seen software and services as second-fiddle business lines, with fat-margin hardware being the star of the show. As Android phones continue to improve, and Roku and Amazon dominate TV streaming devices (thanks largely to their lower prices and ad-supported UIs), I could see Apple trying to differentiate their hardware with free bonus content that creates buzz and adds to the brand halo.

    Apple has averaged annual net profits of nearly $50 billion over the past three years. They could easily afford to plow $1 billion of that each year back into original content to attract and retain buyers of their hardware. (Another data point: in 2015, the last year they reported their total advertising budget, it was $1.8 billion.)

    Looks like Apple may be on track to produce a slate of original content that rivals the original line-ups of HBO, Showtime, Starz and Amazon Prime in terms of quantity and quality. But without also having a decent library of non-originals content (movies, past seasons of series that debuted elsewhere, music and comedy specials, sports, etc.) -- as well as a broad distribution strategy supporting all hardware platforms, and maybe even add-on partnerships with the likes of Hulu, Amazon, etc. -- it's hard to see "Apple Video" really succeeding as a standalone paid subscription service.

Published by
Dave Zatz