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How Will Apple Sell Its Original Video Content?

Peter Kafka, writing for Recode in the wake of Apple’s content deal with Oprah Winfrey:

  • Some industry observers expect Apple to make some or all of the content available for free for users of Apple’s TV app, which Apple first introduced as a would-be TV guide/hub a couple years ago, and is installed by default on all of its devices. Apple has told some industry executives it intends to strengthen that hub by making it a focal point to sell subscriptions to other companies’ TV services, as Amazon already does.

  • Other watchers are convinced Apple will bundle all of its content into a very big subscription service, which would include Apple Music, along with other benefits like AppleCare.

  • Most interesting and confusing to me: One TV executive who has talked to Apple tells me Apple says it intends to sell a standalone subscription to its original video shows, priced below Netflix, whose standard offering costs $11 a month in the U.S.

I think scenario 2 is the most likely — just include the original video content with an Apple Music subscription. People are only willing to pay for so many subscriptions, and asking folks to pay separately for Apple Music and “Apple TV” is too much to ask in my opinion. One monthly fee and you get all of Apple Music and all of Apple’s original video content. That’s compelling. It also would make it easy for Apple to build up its original content lineup one show at a time. Years from now, Apple could well be offering enough original video content that a standalone video subscription could be feasible — but as they get started, they’re only going to have a handful of shows for a while.

(Bundling AppleCare in the same package seems bonkers. One person might own a single Apple device, another might own a dozen Mac Pros. AppleCare, like any extended warranty, only makes sense as something sold per-device, not as a subscription. What would be interesting would be if they offered additional iCloud storage along with the standard subscription for music and video content.)

Tuesday, 19 June 2018