June 04, 2018
A recent interview with James Murdoch, the CEO of 21st Century Fox, has stirred up speculations regarding Apple’s video streaming services with original content, which is expected to be launched as early as March 2019.
Apple’s serious efforts to take on the entertainment industry through original video content were unveiled when it named two of the Hollywood’s most respected studio execs Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg as the heads of their services in worldwide video programming. When the budget of $1 billion was announced, the sheer competitive prowess of the company had attracted many industry veterans, including Jennifer Aniston, Octavia Spencer, Steven Speilberg, Reese Witherspoon, M. Night Shyamalan, and Kristen Wiig.
Since then, the company has grown greatly, the budget has been quadrupled and, under the leadership of the two executives, the staff has grown from none to around forty people who are creating Apple’s originals, in different divisions such as children’s shows, adult dramas, and Latin American and European programming, at the California headquarters of the company.
A tentative description of the upcoming series includes a comedy series starring Kristen Wiig, a documentary show by Matt Tyrnauer, a morning TV show starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, a new space drama by Ronald D. Moore, and the reboot of Amazing Stories by Steven Speilberg.
It is clear that Apple is leaving no stone unturned in its attempts at making its originals a successful attempt, something that Microsoft and Yahoo have failed to do in their attempts.
It is noteworthy that in the wake of Television entertainment disruption, tech giants including Facebook, Amazon, and Google are trying to establish their share of business in the industry. However, Apple’s competitive prowess, its association with big names in the industry, and evidently larger budget, all stack the odds in its favour, putting it in direct competition with mainstream leaders like Hulu and Netflix.
Netflix vs. Apple
It is quite interesting how Apple’s success rates are already being held in competition with the industry-leader Netflix, even when the company hasn’t made any big announcements about the launch of the service itself yet, though this could be addressed this week itself in WWDC 2018. Furthermore, the strategy that Apple will be following with its content, would be quite different than Netflix’s current strategy which favours a high-volume of content. Eddy Cue, a senior vice president of the company’s video streaming initiative, has cited Disney’s animation company Pixar as the model for their services, clearly stating that the content they delivered will focus more on quality rather than quantity.
This strategy also comes in line with Apple’s attempts in helping users gain a balance in the time they spend with gadgets.
In contrast, Netflix is going to follow its time-tested strategy, providing distinct content for different tastes among the audience. This years’ budget of Netflix too is going to be quite voluminous in comparison, with around $8 billion against $4 billion by Apple. Netflix has around 500 scripts for the present year, while Apple is still struggling with the script creation for the projects that it purchased rights of months ago.
Furthermore, how Apple is going to bring in subscriptions as well as its strategy for streaming the videos, is still being debated. Wages are high on the use of the TV app that already features video services from HBO Now, Hulu, and Apple Music, which is currently offering music-related shows and documentaries.
In any case, it is clear that Apple’s original series will face a tough few years ahead if they take on Netflix. Experts feel like Apple’s other services stand a better chance at dominating an industry, like that of Apple Music where it pretty much level to the heights of mainstream leaders Spotify.
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