By Andrew Jenck
A streaming service from Apple on first glance is one of the more unusual entries to the streaming wars, considering it’s a hardware company, not a movie studio. However, if we peel away the outside layer, things start to make a bit more sense. Considering the $4.99 price point and the general library, TV+ is meant as complimentary platform. The library does not have any preexisting shows or movies; most everything is either original or based on something not previously adapted.
“A platform consisting of nearly only original properties?” you may be thinking, “That’s quite innovative for Apple under Tim Cook.” Don’t get your hopes too high because this is still Apple under Tim Cook; still presenting itself as inventive but instead trying to catch up to the competition.
As of now, Apple’s library has received lukewarm interest overall (list of content can be found here.) The Morning Show is considered a highlight; a news-anchor-drama starring Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carrel, and Reese Witherspoon. You have your typical action epics and horrors (See and Servant) and several documentaries, such as the cultural impact of LGBTQ+ representation on television. Some big names have been attached, such as Steven Spielberg’s reboot of Amazing Stories, and Oprah Winfrey’s book club, but nothing that would keep people past the free trial; unless your free trial is a whole year.
If you purchased a new Apple device after September 10, 2019, then you qualify for a year of Apple TV+ for a year. If you have the Apple Music student plan, you also get it for free. Apple was likely aware that they would not have the greatest selection of offerings to start out, so they’re planning to establish a user base and potentially build up after that. This is a fault I find with other websites calling TV+ a direct competitor to Netflix: Apple is trying to sell phones through subscriptions. As would be expected, Apple TV+ is, well, mostly exclusive to Apple devices. You can watch it on Roku and Amazon Fire, but it will not be enabled on Android devices.
According to The Verge, Apple is set on adopting Amazon Prime’s business model: a platform that offers all content in the most convenient way possible. The same press conference that revealed TV+ also unveiled Apple News, Apple Arcade, and Apple Channels. All of these services require separate payment plans, but they made an emphasis of all in one place. Channels, for example, contains all content from the streaming services you’re subscribed to on one interface, as opposed to downloading separate apps. There currently is no plan for a fixed price of all these offerings; likely waiting to see what will stick before doing so.
One important thing to note is that TV+ doesn’t necessarily have to make money. As I’ve stated before, this is another way to get people more attached to devices — the real source of income for Apple. You want to know what other video service doesn’t turn a profit? YouTube. Seriously, the business model of offering a streaming service with its sole source of income being advertisements is financially unfeasible in the long run. However, YouTube is still necessary to parent Alphabet, Inc. because it is a gateway site. If you want to subscribe to channels and receive notifications, you need a YouTube account and by extension, a Google account. Coincidently a Google account also gives you access to its own email, client software, entertainment store, browser, and phone plan.
Apple, Google, and Amazon are three of the biggest Silicon Valley companies, all trying to create the greatest convenience for their customers so that they may become attached. TV+ doesn’t seem like much because it doesn’t have to be much. So long as it’s free trial attracts new consumers and gets them hooked on Apple’s products, it will have done its job.
For more about Bingeuary, here are links to Andrew’s other editorials: