Apple TV Plus: Is it worth the hype

Monday saw the biggest news break in the TV industry, as Apple hosted a special event in California announcing its own Netflix-rival TV streaming app, Apple TV+, with a range of original content. Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston and Steven Spielberg are among the list of stars who are all signed up to be a part of this new venture for Apple.

“We’re honoured that the absolute best line up of storytellers in the world — both in front of and behind the camera — are coming to Apple TV+,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services. Apple TV+ will be home to some of the highest quality original storytelling that TV and movie lovers have seen yet.”

Through all the noise surrounding the event, how is the industry reacting to the news and will Apple’s offering really stand out from the rest?

What will Apple TV+ offer?

It was only a matter of time before Apple stepped up their TV game, and this long-awaited SVOD service is due to launch in autumn. In the meantime, this May via a software update, the current Apple TV app will include optional add-on’s from over 150 other apps, including Amazon Prime and Hulu. Consumers will also be able to purchase subscriptions on an a la carte basis and for the first time the Apple TV app will be available on Samsung, LG, Sony and Vizio smart TV’s as well as on Roku and Amazon Fire devices.

What’s the general consensus?

Overall, the industry seems to be less than impressed with the announcement. Many feel that Apple have a large disadvantage with only 174 millions addressable TVs, and the industry experts are sceptical on how it will be able to compete in this already overcrowded space.

As a consumer, the vast amount of choice may become overburdening. With BritBox due to launch this year, as well as Disney+, the battle is on to win over customers.

“Apple is yet another player with massively deep pockets trying to sign up consumers onto a monthly subscription. The issue here is that market cannot support many more of these services. Hulu, Disney, BritBox, Prime Video, and a string of specialist services such as Curiosity stream and DAZN are already overburdening consumers with choices as it is.” Toby Chapman from the OC&C Strategy Consultants commented.

Despite the estimated spend of ‘up to $1 billion on original content’, Michael Goodman and David Mercer from Strategy Analytics are not convinced Apple is ready to rival the big players just yet.

“Apple’s unveiling was not without star power, but to compete against the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney’s soon to launch SVOD service Apple is going to need a deep, rich catalogue of titles, which they just did not show here. In addition to a sparse catalogue, Apple failed to announce how much Apple TV+ will cost.”

Through all the comments, it’s clear that Apple are serious about subscriptions. Paolo Pescatore from PP Foresight commented: “This represents a landmark moment for Apple with a major event solely focussed on services. It underlines a growing and strong focus on services as a future source of revenue growth. In essence, Apple is seeking to become a Netflix of everything in services; music, news and magazines, video and games.”

What’s Next

The details of Apple TV+ are still unclear, including the cost, what series will be available at launch or how shows will be released. Despite the competition, Apple has the advantage of their ecosystem, the relationships they already have with customers and that the proposition is only a small part of the company’s broader strategy, meaning they can be competitive with pricing to undercut rivals.

We will have to wait until Autumn to see exactly what Apple TV+ will really bring to the table, and if it will win over the hearts of consumers… as well as the industry experts!