Apple unveiled its new subscription entertainment platform, Apple TV+ on Monday, creating a monetized home for the brand’s original programming. The announcement focused heavily on storytelling and creators like Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Oprah Winfrey.
Apple TV+ launches this fall as a separate subscription service accessible from within the Apple TV app. It will house the brand’s original content and while specifics were not provided, Apple is marketing celebrities to sell the promise of quality.
The promotional video featured J.J. Abrams, Jennifer Aniston, Damien Chazelle, Sofia Coppola, Ron Howard, M. Night Shyamalan, Octavia Spencer, Steven Spielberg, Hailee Steinfeld and Reese Witherspoon, all talking about the process of storytelling.
The use of Spielberg, Abrams, Howard, Witherspoon, Anniston, etc. as the first marketing for Apple TV+ attempts to situate the service more in line with quality “it’s more a 10 hour movie” TV.
— Ryan Stoldt (@ryanstoldt) March 25, 2019
Another video announced that Oprah Winfrey would be coming to the Apple TV+ platform, although it did not specify in what capacity. Even Sesame Street’s Big Bird made an appearance.
Unlike Netflix or Amazon, AppleTV+ will not host a catalog of licensed content in addition to originals. Instead, it was designed to attract new subscribers based on exclusivity. Apple users will still be able to access partner networks like HBO and Showtime through the standard Apple TV offering, but it will require switching over to another app.
While Hulu, Disney, VUDU and others prepare to woo advertisers next month at IAB’s Digital Newfronts, Apple TV+ will be ad-free.
This may seem like a strange move for a service launching in 100 countries, but as one marketer pointed out, Apple may not be focusing on revenue so much as perceived value.
Sometimes, a brand does things to retain value. Apple TV content is content marketing for brand loyalty and customer retention. https://t.co/h9irfrJycL
— SEUN AGBELUSI (@seuncr8vwox) March 26, 2019
It remains to be seen if Apple TV+ original content is inspiring enough to pay for yet another subscription. According to Deloitte, 47 percent of US consumers are becoming “fatigued” by the growing number of subscriptions and services required to watch what they want. The average US consumer subscribes to three services as it is, Deloitte found.
Unlike many of its competitors, Apple has the ability to bundle services like music, games, TV and news. Apple TV+ also has the ability to reach the brand’s existing global user base.
In a note to Wall Street investors called “Apple Poisons Netflix,” Needham analyst Laura Martin asserted that Apple has strong consumer awareness and no marketing costs.
“Netflix has an inferior competitive position to Apple over time, as we see it, in both: a) customer acquisition costs; and b) content costs,” wrote Martin “Apple has zero consumer acquisition costs since it will first target its captive 900 million global unique users, which are the wealthiest consumers in the world.”