Apple knows the Age of Streaming has begun
Wake up. Apple is about to introduce TV+, Arcade, News+, Podcasts and improved Music subscription services and it already knows the scale of the opportunity.
Just look at the data
Sure, we know the streaming media market is a crowded house with lots of players chasing the dollar, including the recent debut of the attractive Disney+ service and the imminent arrival of Bollywood-on-demand via Apple’s TV+ service.
Eros Digital CEO, Rishika Lulla Singh recently said: “With Apple, we are launching, in over a 100 countries, being the only international partner for their new services plan.”
Today we hear that in the UK, consumers are spending over $6 billion per year on streaming entertainment, a rate of over $120 million each week on digital music, video and games in the first half of 2019, according to ERA.
Music’s growth was driven by continuing strong adoption of subscription streaming services from the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Deezer and YouTube Music. Consumers spent £485.9m on subscription streaming in the first half of 2019, 25.8% more than in the same period last year.
Video is the new inflection point
Neflix and Lovefilm/Amazon were early entrants into the streaming video service, but Disney’s recent decision to invade with its competitively priced Disney+ servicesand Apple’s incoming attempt to hit the market with a combination of original content and the provision of content from others (likely through fee-based “Channels”) is likely to shake things up.
Meanwhile, we’re seeing a change in user habits globally. In India, people are more likely to watch TV on their smartphone than on a television, for example.
Marketing for Disney’s services is likely to begin later this month. “We know how important it is to create a friction-less experience,” Disney chief (and Apple board member) Bob Iger told Variety. The close relationship between Disney and Apple seems very likely to be reflected in Apple’s upcoming service, at least in terms of ensuring consumers surface available content.
Then there’s 5G
Meanwhile, we’re looking at the evolution and deployment of 5G.
This will change everything as it rolls out, enabling Wi-Fi speed mobile broadband in areas it is made available in.
It’s no stretch at all to imagine direct to consumer media streaming companies side-stepping cable and fixed line broadband operators completely with an all-mobile 5G market play.
In a sense this will be necessary: Not only is it becoming rather expensive to combine all the streaming services you want in one collection, but the battle lines between operator, networks, tech and entertainment firms are becoming muddied.
With such opaque clarity most in the space will be seeking contingency ways to access consumer hearts and minds, and 5G connections will help them keep customers no matter what walled garden operators may try to build around them.
Apple knows that in order to win, it needs to forge partnership positions (at best) or frenemy relationships (at worst) with entertainment system manufacturers (AirPlay 2 et al), streaming service providers (for inclusion and support within its TV app) and network providers.
After all, along with boosting its own bottom line its attempt is also about building customer loyalty and delivering excellence in customer experiences.
September should be fun…