It was a star-studded event with everyone from Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg to Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell and even Big Bird in attendance. No, it wasn’t an awards show… it was Monday’s Apple press event to announce Apple TV+
Apple TV+ is their answer to the rise in popularity of streaming services. The company — known for the iPhone and Mac computer — will launch Apple TV+ this fall as a paid, ad-free video portal featuring original movies and TV shows.
But, do people want another streaming service?
What is Apple TV+?
Unfortunately, there’s not much we know about Apple TV+ except that it’s “coming this fall” and will include original programming, like two docu-series from Oprah, two new TV shows — “See” starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard as well as “The Morning Show” starring Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell and Reese Witherspoon — as well as other projects in the works from J.J. Abrams, Damien Chazelle, Kumail Nanjiani, M. Night Shyamalan and Steven Spielberg.
What we still don’t know is pricing, plan structure, when exactly it’s coming and what type of content people can expect.
So, is it something people will consider?
“People will consider it because content is king. If they like the content, where else will they get it?” Dan Rayburn, a streaming and online video expert who’s been featured in CBS, The New York Times, WIRED and more, told Allconnect®.
While Apple TV+ is another streaming option, Rayburn says it’s simply that: another option, not the next Netflix or Sling TV. Instead, he believes this is a strategic launch that makes a lot of sense for their business model.
“Apple has quite the ecosystem in place,” he said, referencing their hardware, browsers, operating systems, stores and more. “They’re strategically rolling out new services that help build that ecosystem. Apple can make money in so many ways because they own the ecosystem.”
What will be interesting is how they structure their pricing and plans, Rayburn said. If Apple were to do a flat subscription price with the ability to share with your whole family, similar to the newly announced Apple News+ subscription service, or was to offer bundle options for music, news and TV, that may be even more enticing to potential subscribers.
Streaming subscriptions are rising, but usage is falling
Streaming services, such as DIRECTV NOW, HBO Go/HBO Now, Hulu and Netflix, are having a moment. It’s not uncommon to hear Millennials using the phrase “Netflix and chill,” and watercooler discussions no longer revolve around this week’s latest episode but your latest weekend binge-watch session.
According to a survey conducted by Morning Consult and The Hollywood Reporter, 59% of U.S. adults (or someone in their household) currently subscribe to a streaming service as of January 2019. Netflix has seen their number of U.S. streaming subscribers climb from 21.45 million in Q3 of 2011 to 60.55 million in Q4 of 2018.
And it’s not uncommon for wireless or internet service providers to use streaming services as an incentive for new service. Verizon is currently offering Netflix premium plans for one year with select Fios Triple Play accounts and AT&T previously offered HBO for life with select unlimited wireless plans.
But while most services have seen this type of steady growth, subscriptions don’t mean people are using your service (just that they’re paying for it). For instance, the number of HBO Now subscribers has grown from less than 1 million in December 2015 to more than 5 million in February 2018. However, a survey by AudienceProject published in January 2019 looked at the share of viewers who use selected video streaming and download services and found that 14% of viewers used HBO Now in Q2 of 2017, but that number had dropped to 11% in Q4 of 2018.
Do we need another streaming option?
As Rayburn mentioned above, content is king so if Apple can create compelling content that draws interest, they’ll probably be successful. On social media, though, we’ve seen some mixed reactions to the Apple TV+ announcement.