Thoughts on Apple TV+
Have you looked, I mean, really looked, at the Apple TV+ PR image Apple is supplying, which features a still from a Spiderman movie?
We don’t know what it will cost.
We don’t know what it will offer.
All that we do know is that Apple’s new Apple TV+ channel will launch in late 2019 and that Apple has somehow recruited a galaxy of stars to create content for this new service – stars who, in Oprah Winfrey’s case – feel stoked enough to think the content they are creating is going to be something great.
Why do they think this?
After all, we know (or at least, we’re told) that Apple has been an uptight employer that seems to want to stick to “family values” and doesn’t seem to want to do edgy TV.
We know it’s more Disney than HBO, at least, philosophically. It doesn’t want to trade in the dark.
We also know that some of the content it told us about during its special event is actually rather special – attempts to counter the ritualistic “othering” of immigrants, ideas around female emancipation in the workplace, concepts around discovery and notions of illuminating the soul with shows possessed of high standards of taste, intelligence and a real commitment to creating great content.
Apple clearly sees a global gap in that market.
The rapidly growing audience of people willing to pay for access to content represents just how great that gap has become.
However, it’s going to take more than (2 billion?) dollars, buckets of marketing and supportive chatter to convince some of the world’s biggest TV names (and I’m looking to the writers, videographers, editors and set organisers as perhaps being more important than the ‘slebs Apple wheeled out during its launch) to sign up and bet their lives on Apple’s move to create an Apple-only subscription TV channel with limited content.
Unless they know something we don’t
What could they know that we don’t know?
What could have convinced some of the world’s greatest filmmakers, scriptwriters and acting talent to decide to explore Apple’s cool new virtual (because: unlaunched so not here) TV planet?
Oh, sure, a billion potential eyeballs can’t be bad, and while Apple says it’s gonna announce the cost of TV+ at some later point, I’m guessing it will give people at least a free glimpse at the content as it tries to convince them to donate dollars for its TV shows.
I’m still reading the post-match analysis on all Apple’s announcements, and my take is that almost everybody I expect to have a negative opinion isn’t letting me down.
I guess that’s why I don’t work with them.
I’ve also read the actual analysts, and while I’ve seen a few high points (such as Laura Martin’s splendid assessment), it does remind me rather of the kind of clamour of negativity that happens every time Apple does something that really matters.
My take? Apple’s competitors and the various people who support them seem concerned.
Knowing that Apple quality content will soon be made available via third party smart televisions from the biggest manufacturers, as well, as a billion Apple devices would have that effect, maybe – but it’s only the addition of a fresh competitor into a competitive industry.
This is a puzzle.
What is the missing link?
I think everyone may be missing something – after all, what’s the deal if the best way to watch the content – by a country mile – is on an Apple device?
It should already be pretty obvious that Apple TV+ is dependent on software components we’re not going to see until the release of iOS 13 – Apple isn’t launching it until fall, which is when the company usually updates its iOS.
There must be a platform-related component to all of this, as Apple could otherwise have launched the channel in a different way already – like any other streaming system.
What if the best viewing experience comes from something quite new?
Apple goes to Hollywood
We know Apple has a platform, operating system and content offering that’s got some of the world’s biggest names in moving visual entertainment – from games to television – interested enough to have a shot at making and taking a big chunk of cash (no one in entertainment signs a deal without negotiating healthy percentages, do they?)
They are convinced enough at Apple’s plans to show up on stage during an Apple Park keynote – these are people for whom REPUTATION IS INCOME.
Did you think about that?
And you think this is just about launching some poxy Netflix killer? You think this is just some vanity Apple broadcasting channel?
I don’t have all the information, but I do have a hunch.
(This direction may take time — but it’s where we are going).