We don’t know exactly what Apple will debut during its big press event on Monday. A new streaming-video product? A revamped TV app and video storefront?
What is clear is that the tech giant will be jumping into an already crowded — and growing -— streaming market.
Apple (AAPL) is expected to roll out a streaming-video product at a press event on Monday — one that could come with a lineup of original programming from the likes of Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and Steven Spielberg.
This video product, whatever shape it takes, will be competing for viewers’ time and money against some of the biggest entertainment companies in Hollywood, which are creating, promoting and launching their own services in 2019.
There’s Disney (DIS), which will demo its new service Disney (DIS)+ at an investor day on April 11. The House of Mouse has one of the most vast (if not the most vast) content libraries in Hollywood: We’re talking “Star Wars,” Marvel, Disney (DIS) Animation, Disney (DIS) live action, Pixar and now, thanks to its $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s assets earlier this week, even more content. Disney (DIS) also owns a controlling stake of Hulu, which gives it an even bigger slice of the streaming pie.
AT&T (T)’s WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent company, is also launching its own streaming service, with the beta version available in the fourth quarter this year. The company’s offering will be broken down into three tiers: An entry level version that will be focused on movies, a premium version that will have original programming and blockbusters, and a third tier that will include both as well as a library of licensed content. Think “Harry Potter,” DC superheroes and HBO.
NBCUniversal is jumping into the streaming game too, but not until next year. Its service will host a wide array of content from the company’s own library, including hit film franchises such as “Jurassic World” and “The Fast and the Furious” as well as hit TV shows like “The Office.”
Then there’s the granddaddy streaming product of them all: Netflix (NFLX).
Netflix has dominated the streaming market for years, thanks to a content strategy that’s a bit of everything for everyone. Reality shows like “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” dramas such as “The Crown,” Oscar winning films like “Roma,” and franchises that have huge fan bases like “Stranger Things” have all helped Netflix change the way we watch TV and movies. It’s also helped Netflix grow to 139 million subscribers around the world.
Not to mention the countless other services — both big and small — from Amazon, CBS All Access and others.
But Apple is Apple, after all, and its deep pockets, massive base of iPhone users, and tech expertise could help it find a way to succeed in the streaming-video world.
And there’s a good chance Apple could decide to work with other content companies rather than battle against them.
“The company’s TV effort will certainly be ambitious,” wrote Josef Adalian, west coast editor for New York Magazine’s Vulture. “It is certainly competing with Netflix (and Hulu and HBO and Amazon Prime) for both eyeballs and Hollywood talent. But there are no signs the company is looking to create an all-things-to-all-people platform such as Netflix. At least not yet.”