Roku CEO says Apple TV+ needs to be on rival platforms for growth & success

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited March 26
Apple has to push its Apple TV+ service onto platforms outside of its ecosystem in order to gain a large-enough audience to be worthwhile, comments by Roku CEO Anthony Wood suggests, with the decision to offer an app for smart TVs and rival streaming platforms a way for Apple to work around the Apple TV set-top box's small market share.

Apple TV 4K
Apple TV 4K


On Monday, Apple revealed it would be introducing a new Apple TV experience, as well as its Apple TV+ original content service, among other Services-related announcements. In an unusual move, Apple confirmed it would be making the app available on hardware by third-party producers, including Samsung smart televisions and set-top boxes from Roku and Amazon.

In an interview with CNBC, Wood explained Apple's rationale behind the decision is purely due to where the audience for streaming services reside. Despite having a considerable user base equipped with mobile devices, the same cannot be said for the Apple TV.

"Obviously, they're counting on jump-starting [the streaming service] with all of their iPhone and iPad and Mac customers, but actually smart TVs are the way that most streaming services, long-form streaming services are viewed by customers," Wood advised. "That's where they spend most of their hours, and so for any kind of service like that to be successful you want to be on the leading streaming TV platforms."

The Apple TV has not fared well in the streaming media market, with one early 2018 report by Parks Associates putting the Apple TV at having a 15-percent share of the market. By comparison, Roku had a 37-percent share.

The relatively low market penetration of the Apple TV at one point reportedly prompted Apple to internally discuss the possibility of creating an additional streaming option alongside the Apple TV and Apple TV 4K. It was alleged a streaming stick similar to those offered by Amazon was under consideration as a low-cost alternative, though that has so far yet to make it to market.

Evidently, making the app available on competing platforms may have been an easier to perform feat for Apple.

Starting in the spring, Samsung's smart TVs will be the first to have the new Apple TV app, followed by televisions from LG, Sony, and Vizio. At around the same time, Apple will bring the app to Roku's set-top box and device line, as well as Amazon's Fire TV range.

In the interview, Wood declined to offer a suggestion as to whether or not Apple would succeed in its streaming endeavor in an highly-competitive market, but did point out the additional content of Apple and rivals like Netflix and Amazon Prime is making it "the golden age of TV," one that could "accelerate the switch to streaming" from traditional distribution via cable and satellite.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    smaffeismaffei Posts: 220member
    And, probably, the reason Apple has not lowered the price of Apple TV (or made a cheaper Apple TV device) is because it promised Roku that it wouldn't "price compete" in order to get help with getting the TV app on Roku devices.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 16
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,179member
    Thanks Roku. Apple is in really need of your advice. Clearly, they have no idea what they're doing, and never did. 

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 16
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,007member
    smaffei said:
    And, probably, the reason Apple has not lowered the price of Apple TV (or made a cheaper Apple TV device) is because it promised Roku that it wouldn't "price compete" in order to get help with getting the TV app on Roku devices.
    Riiiight... because Apple has no idea how to do software development, and they wouldn't be able to survive without the revenue generated from the TV app on Roku devices.</s>

    The fact that Roku's CEO came out and said this clearly indicates that they need Apple more than Apple needs them.  Apple already has big TV manufacturers on board, which is a much larger market than people who buy a separate streamer box.
    edited March 26 HenryDJPhmurchisonjbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 16
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 458member
    I have an Apple TV 4K at home and a Roku TV in the call room at my hospital,  despite that, I find myself most often using my iPad Pro or Macintosh. Both the ATV and Roku systems are klunky- it is just easier to use YouTube TV via Chrome on the Mac and the app on iOS. The Apple video app is not worth bothering with.

    To be honest, I had a better setup before Comcast encrypted everything. I had an EyeTV 500 (HD) that had an integrated guide and worked in Front Row (remember that?) and could easily watch all my content with the simple Apple Remote- all my iTunes content, all my recorded EyeTV content, live TV and my DVD library.

    I have a a nice 32” UHD display on the desktop on my bedroom that functions essentially as my bedroom TV. Apple should bring back Front Row and allow 3rd party TV apps to plug into it. A desktop Mac is a natural TV given the right software.
  • Reply 5 of 16
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,288member
    That would make sense if Apple were going to charge the same as the other guys. I suspect TV+ is going to be a loss leader. It’ll be bundled with something else or virtually given away. Roku has nothing else to sell. Apple has plenty, so doesn’t need to charge much out of the gate. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 16
    smaffei said:
    And, probably, the reason Apple has not lowered the price of Apple TV (or made a cheaper Apple TV device) is because it promised Roku that it wouldn't "price compete" in order to get help with getting the TV app on Roku devices.
    That's very doubtful. It's really not about hardware, it's what's available in terms of content. For example, I have a Roku, but I really wanted the AppleTV. I couldn't pay the $180 price so I checked out Roku. Found out that Roku has the Xfinity Stream app that Apple does not have, and no other Smart App Box has it either, so Roku won in this case. Even if they were the same price I would still get the Roku based on the Xfinity app. 
  • Reply 7 of 16
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,106member
    auxio said:
    smaffei said:
    And, probably, the reason Apple has not lowered the price of Apple TV (or made a cheaper Apple TV device) is because it promised Roku that it wouldn't "price compete" in order to get help with getting the TV app on Roku devices.
    Riiiight... because Apple has no idea how to do software development, and they wouldn't be able to survive without the revenue generated from the TV app on Roku devices.</s>

    The fact that Roku's CEO came out and said this clearly indicates that they need Apple more than Apple needs them.  Apple already has big TV manufacturers on board, which is a much larger market than people who buy a separate streamer box.
    There was mention yesterday that Apple planned to make AppleTV+ available on Roku devices in addition to Samsung and LG and other smart tv's. I doubt they're all doing it because they like Apple so much. I would have to assume Apple is sharing some portion of the revenues.

    Perhaps Roku's mention is just help sweeten their part of it before the contracts are offered. Or it could be some other reason. Do we know what the actual questions were that prompted the response from their CEO?
  • Reply 8 of 16
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,487member
    I'm hoping the TV app will be available on my Roku TV. 
  • Reply 9 of 16
    davgreg said:
    I have an Apple TV 4K at home and a Roku TV in the call room at my hospital,  despite that, I find myself most often using my iPad Pro or Macintosh. Both the ATV and Roku systems are klunky- it is just easier to use YouTube TV via Chrome on the Mac and the app on iOS. The Apple video app is not worth bothering with.

    To be honest, I had a better setup before Comcast encrypted everything. I had an EyeTV 500 (HD) that had an integrated guide and worked in Front Row (remember that?) and could easily watch all my content with the simple Apple Remote- all my iTunes content, all my recorded EyeTV content, live TV and my DVD library.

    I have a a nice 32” UHD display on the desktop on my bedroom that functions essentially as my bedroom TV. Apple should bring back Front Row and allow 3rd party TV apps to plug into it. A desktop Mac is a natural TV given the right software.
    Too bold, didn't read. TB;DR.
    roundaboutnowwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 16
    My inference is that Apple is allowing other hardware vendors get on board to make it much harder for Google to have any success creating a competing service to run on alternate hardware. This approach may actually work. Has anyone calculated how much revenue the media distribution service generates each year in the US? Each household probably pays $50/month. That probably works out to $10 billion/year spent on media services in the US alone (multiply by at least 10 for worldwide figures). For the most part that's just bits flowing on a wires: there's not a lot of hardware required to make this service work (a little hardware helps to lock your clients in). Apple will get some of that but they may not win a majority here, because Disney is the new Thanos and could just snap its fingers and half the market in the universe will fall to them. Someone should create a cartoon with Walt himself wearing Thanos's glove, and Tim Cook in place of Thor (holding a hammer constructed with an Apple TV) trying to stop the snap but failing.
    edited March 26
  • Reply 11 of 16
    Seems like if the TV app can run on a Roku box, a version of TV ought to run on the older, 3rd gen Apple TV. Any word on this?


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 16
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,278member
    Actually the Roku-Apple alliance is beneficial for both companies.    Roku needs to keep momentum going on it's integrated Smart TV platform.  Amazon is going to be very aggressive in winning marketshare.   Roku laid an egg after CES 2019 when  Sony, LG, Samsung and Vizio announced HomeKit/Airplay support.  Roku enabled TV without this feature are at a disadvantage especially compared to Vizio sets.   Neither company had to kowtow to the other but it's just good business to have as much support as possible. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 16
    smaffeismaffei Posts: 220member
    auxio said:
    smaffei said:
    And, probably, the reason Apple has not lowered the price of Apple TV (or made a cheaper Apple TV device) is because it promised Roku that it wouldn't "price compete" in order to get help with getting the TV app on Roku devices.
    Riiiight... because Apple has no idea how to do software development, and they wouldn't be able to survive without the revenue generated from the TV app on Roku devices.</s>

    The fact that Roku's CEO came out and said this clearly indicates that they need Apple more than Apple needs them.  Apple already has big TV manufacturers on board, which is a much larger market than people who buy a separate streamer box.
    If you read previous articles. Apple was approaching Roku about AirPlay 2 and not the other way around. 

    Roku owns 37% of the streaming hardware market. Apple owns 15%. The math says you're wrong. 

    (And, by the way, there are a lot of TVs out there that have Roku built in now. Apple needs those too).
  • Reply 14 of 16
    slurpy said:
    Thanks Roku. Apple is in really need of your advice. Clearly, they have no idea what they're doing, and never did. 

    I suspect Apple will wise up and enter into an agreement with Roku, firstly on Airplay and probably also this. At this time, Apple TV is  the "also ran" of streamers, so, yes, Apple clearly does need advice.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,007member
    gatorguy said:
    auxio said:
    smaffei said:
    And, probably, the reason Apple has not lowered the price of Apple TV (or made a cheaper Apple TV device) is because it promised Roku that it wouldn't "price compete" in order to get help with getting the TV app on Roku devices.
    Riiiight... because Apple has no idea how to do software development, and they wouldn't be able to survive without the revenue generated from the TV app on Roku devices.</s>

    The fact that Roku's CEO came out and said this clearly indicates that they need Apple more than Apple needs them.  Apple already has big TV manufacturers on board, which is a much larger market than people who buy a separate streamer box.
    There was mention yesterday that Apple planned to make AppleTV+ available on Roku devices in addition to Samsung and LG and other smart tv's. I doubt they're all doing it because they like Apple so much. I would have to assume Apple is sharing some portion of the revenues.
    They mentioned that they plan to bring the TV app to other platforms, but it wasn't clear about AppleTV+ (whether that'll be exclusive to Apple devices or not).

    As for whether Apple is sharing the profits or not, I assume that those TV manufacturers want to get people buying their TVs, so the more content they can make available via the built in apps, the more TVs they'll sell.  I took a quick look at the Samsung developer site, and it looks like it's an open platform which anyone can develop apps for.
    edited March 27 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 16
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,007member
    smaffei said:
    auxio said:
    smaffei said:
    And, probably, the reason Apple has not lowered the price of Apple TV (or made a cheaper Apple TV device) is because it promised Roku that it wouldn't "price compete" in order to get help with getting the TV app on Roku devices.
    Riiiight... because Apple has no idea how to do software development, and they wouldn't be able to survive without the revenue generated from the TV app on Roku devices.</s>

    The fact that Roku's CEO came out and said this clearly indicates that they need Apple more than Apple needs them.  Apple already has big TV manufacturers on board, which is a much larger market than people who buy a separate streamer box.
    If you read previous articles. Apple was approaching Roku about AirPlay 2 and not the other way around. 

    Roku owns 37% of the streaming hardware market. Apple owns 15%. The math says you're wrong. 

    (And, by the way, there are a lot of TVs out there that have Roku built in now. Apple needs those too).
    Streamer hardware has become a commodity item nowadays.  Now that the streamers which are built-in to TVs are "good enough" for most people, no one cares whether it's a Roku box, Samsung Tizen box, or something else.  And those built-in streamers are a much, much bigger market than external streamers.  Maybe Roku has made some inroads into getting their streamer boxes into TVs, but they certainly can't afford to hold steaming app/services hostage to get a cut of the revenue because it's a highly competitive space.
    watto_cobra
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