Editorial: Apple faces entirely new challenges with Apple TV+

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited October 1
One month from its November 1 launch, there are many reasons to believe Apple TV+ will succeed -- but also several reasons for skepticism.

Tim Cook on Dickinson
Tim Cook on Dickinson


On November 1, one month from today, Apple will finally launch Apple TV+, the culmination of its many years of planning and designing its original video service.

This new streaming service, and the very expensive content that will live on it, represents one of Apple's biggest bets ever. The company has always made videos, but not even on a fraction of this scale.

Apple TV+ is less an extension of Apple's previous promotional videos, and more like the situation with the launch of the iPhone. Apple is entering an extremely well established market, already full of entrenched players -- very many of whom have or are launching similar streaming services.

The way this is not like the iPhone is in how Apple's famous skills may simply not apply here. Apple always enters a market late and it always leapfrogs the existing products with its superior design.

There's no equivalent of the iPhone's multi-touch in television, no equivalent of moving the keyboard to the back of a laptop to create room for a wrist-rest and a trackpad.

Apple could design better software than anyone else, and still it doesn't matter because all that counts is what shows it makes. Apple has reportedly spent six billion dollars producing TV shows and it's conceivable that every single one will flop. It's hardly likely, but neither Apple nor anyone else can know until those shows air.

From the beginning

It's not entirely fair to say that Apple is new to this market, because it has been closely intertwined with Hollywood for much of its history. Steve Jobs co-founded Pixar, for instance, and was the largest shareholder in Disney at the time of his death in 2011.

Notice the autograph at the bottom of this Toy Story poster
Notice the autograph at the bottom of this Toy Story poster


With that connection and the rise of streaming in the early part of this decade, whispers gradually grew louder that Apple would be planning a content play of its own.

The company even tested the waters by launching a couple of original shows -- "Planet of the Apps" and "Carpool Karaoke", in 2016, which were distributed through iTunes.

In early 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was looking to acquire original programs and had begun engaging high-profile producers with an eye towards doing so. That June, Apple announced that it was putting veteran Sony TV executives Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg in charge of the effort.

Throughout 2018 and 2019, Apple carefully started announcing shows that it was developing with such high-profile Hollywood talent as Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, J.J. Abrams, Jason Momoa and M. Night Shyamalan.

Perhaps showing that Apple truly does understand that it's the shows that will make or break any service, it made these announcements without explaining anything further. However long it took Apple to decide on the name Apple TV+, or how distribution would work, or what it would charge, Apple was already promoting its new shows.

Apple formally announced in March that the programming would launch on as a streaming service and that it would be called Apple TV+.

Then in September, Apple revealed that the service would launch November 1, at an unexpectedly low price point of $4.99 a month. CEO Tim Cook also said that anyone purchasing a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or Apple TV would get a free year of the service.

During that September unveiling, the first Apple TV+ show shown to an audience was "Dickinson", starring Hailee Steinfeld. Apple set out to make a statement with this series by not only launching it in the keynote, but also premiering its first episode on September 15 at the Tribeca TV Festival in New York.

Similarly, Apple has announced that the first three films in its deal with prestige distributor A24 -- "The Banker", "Hala" and "The Elephant Queen" -- will get a theatrical release first.

It doesn't have to give them a wide release. Apple knows well, from as far back as its famous "1984" ad, that giving something a release in the right place, at the right time, makes it eligible for year-end awards.

The Elephant Queen will get a theatrical release before it appears on Apple TV+
The Elephant Queen will get a theatrical release before it appears on Apple TV+


There's no particular buzz about these three Apple films, but they're unlikely to be the last. Back in 2017, analyst Gene Munster of Loup Ventures predicted that Apple would win an Oscar within five years.

The launch lineup

One problem of producing video is that television eats up shows. Ten or twenty years ago, television had its September new season releases, just as Apple has its annual iPhone launches. Then there would also be the midseason replacements, new shows in January taking the place of September's failures.

The new- and mid-season pattern continues, but even within network broadcast television, it's being replaced by a year-round release pattern. Cable and now streaming services have long switched to that, and this is the world Apple is stepping into.

To succeed, Apple can't just come out with some shows and see what works. It can't iterate its designs, refining shows until they turn from flops to hits. Apple has to produce shows and keep producing them, to keep constantly investing, and to do its best to keep making hits.

Over the very short term, it's going to be Apple's library of content that makes a difference, and this is the company's weak spot. Compared to any other streaming service, it is launching with very few shows.

If this were back in the day, it would be like the way UPN or Fox began by having a couple of hours of programming on most nights, and only slowly expanding to a full schedule.

Nonetheless, the most important shows Apple is probably ever going to produce are in this opening small set. And they are going to be the ones Apple has chosen to launch first.

When Apple TV+ launches on November 1, it will present just nine titles.

One is the movie "The Elephant Queen," and one is "Dickinson." Alongside those are the backstage TV drama "The Morning Show," along with science fiction series "See" and "For All Mankind." There will also be kids programming such as "Snoopy in Space," "Helpsters" and a reboot of the 1990s show "Ghostwriter."






Apple is clearly counting on at least one or two of those series becoming much-discussed hits, the way that "House of Cards" was for Netflix, "Transparent" did for Amazon Prime, or how "The Larry Sanders Show" made HBO.

As well as Oprah Winfrey's book programme, the most likely hit is probably "The Morning Show". This has the benefit of starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, and its executive producers include Mimi Leder, whose work goes all the way back to "Hill Street Blues."

Reasons for optimism

In launching Apple TV+, Apple is jumping into a crowded field, one that's only going to get more crowded in next six months. Just 11 days after Apple, Disney's long-awaited Disney+ service has its own launch.

Then NBC Universal's service, Peacock, launches next April, while AT&T/Warner Media's HBO Max will also debut next spring. Those four services will join Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, CBS All Access and all of the other incumbent streaming services.

However, there are several advantages Apple has when it comes to differentiating itself. For one thing, Apple has a massive amount of money to spend. The Financial Times reported in August that Apple has thus far spent $6 billion on its content efforts, up from original reports from a couple of years earlier of $1 billion.

That's a massive amount of money by any stretch -- though Netflix has spent more before, and it's still less than a broadcast network could expect to pay for a whole season of primetime dramas and comedies airing every night.

Still, Apple, in its most recent quarter, posted revenue of $53.8 billion, and is said to have cash on hand of over $200 billion.

With that money and, as Oprah pointed out, the number of people it can reach through its devices -- "they are in a billion pockets, y'all, a billion pockets" -- Apple can attract talent.

And Apple can afford to advertise its new shows heavily, as it's been doing on NFL broadcasts in the weeks leading up to the launch.

If they wanted to, Apple could buy a movie studio, to populate Apple TV+ with a library of content.

The Morning Show on Apple TV+
The Morning Show on Apple TV+


Movie industry journalist Richard Rushfield has been speculating in his newsletter The Ankler that Apple could at some point buy Sony's movie studio, should the Japanese electronics conglomerate choose to get out of the movie business.

Those billion devices include Apple's biggest advantage. Anything Apple releases will have this reach, and this access to the massive and very loyal user base of Apple device owners.

Netflix, Amazon and Disney may have exceptional brand loyalty, but none of them make a device that a large percentage of Americans carry around in their pockets.

Reasons for pessimism

So Apple has money, it has hired talent, it is positioning itself well, and we've all got Apple devices. Apple TV+ has the potential to be a big success -- but there are strong reasons to be skeptical about it, too.

Those few new shows at launch, and that lack of a back catalog, is a disadvantage. Even though Apple TV+ is launching at a lower price than its rivals, it's not only competing for dollars. It's competing for our time -- we all have just so much time we can spend watching anything.

And if you're not going to sample every service going, then Disney+ is offering a more attractive package than Apple. Even ignoring the new shows coming from Disney+, the service is launching with the studio's incredible library of beloved animated classics, plus moves from the "Star Wars," Marvel, and Pixar range.

Similarly, Warner and NBC Universal come with literally decades of programming available to them.

Then there is also a serious question of creative freedom.

The Wall Street Journal reported last September that Apple, in its original content efforts, has made an effort to avoid gratuitous sex, violence and controversial topics. For instance, the service, early on in its original content efforts, cancelled a planned project about the life of Dr. Dre.

Apple TV+ has already been referred to as "expensive NBC," meaning it has the budget, but keeps to the family-friendly fare that broadcaster maintains.

And you can throw money at talent while simultaneously robbing them of the reason you hired them. Another report, earlier this year, indicated that Apple executives have been too intrusive with the creative process of the new shows, including a quote that "Tim Cook is giving notes and getting involved."

Although Apple's Eddy Cue has flatly denied reports that Cook had told TV creators to not be "so mean."

Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard present See
Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard present See


Fortunately, we have some evidence that Apple isn't trying out out-Disney its shows. "Dickinson" includes sex and a same-sex affair. "The Morning Show" trailer is clear, too, that the central plot involves a #MeToo accusation, so Apple isn't entirely avoiding topical debates in its series.

Speaking of attracting talent, though, AppleInsider has been told off the record that Apple was particularly keen to pursue exclusive contracts with cast and crew. If so, Apple has failed.

While Apple has got into business with an impressive list of Hollywood luminaries, none of them are exclusive.

Steven Spielberg is making the "Amazing Stories" reboot for Apple, but has future movies lined up elsewhere. Jason Momoa, star of "See," is also still Aquaman, for Warner Media.

Then J.J. Abrams may be working on a limited series with Apple called "My Glory Was I Had Such Friends", but his major new development deal is with Warner Media, after he reportedly snubbed Apple's $500 million offer. Similarly, Oprah, Shyamalan, and even Reese Witherspoon all have significant projects set up elsewhere.

It does seem sensible for talent to avoid being tied down to one service, to risk backing one that may not work out. Yet Netflix has in the last couple of years handed out exclusive, nine-figure development deals to the likes of star TV producers Ryan Murphy, Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris.

Similarly, Amazon Prime has now signed an exclusive deal with "Fleabag" and "Killing Eve" writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Apple has not yet bagged any major TV creator with a similar exclusive deal.

A long battle

It's important not to judge Apple TV+'s potential only on what it has available at launch, or even on what's been announced so far. After all, when Netflix first started with original shows, it only had a handful, and six years later, it has hundreds.

In addition, contrary to a lot of the analysis that's been done on the topic, the streaming wars aren't going to just have one winner. Signing up for Disney+ or Apple TV+ doesn't mean cancelling Netflix. There's a good chance that entertainment will continue to shift towards consumers subscribing to more and more streaming services- and ultimately paying about the same for all of them that they're now paying for cable.

The challenge for Apple is whether it can establish itself as a key, and indispensable part of that streaming equation. This is complicated by how Apple has also launched Apple Arcade, which has no connection to the TV service but will be competing for time and eyeballs just the same. Still, Apple has been building towards its launch of Apple TV+ for several years and spent billions of dollars doing so.

This is not a casual effort, and Apple is not a company that throws money away. It'll be interesting to see how Tim Cook describes the service in, say, next year's keynote speeches.

That might be when we learn what Apple considers a success. Income is one measure of that, but Apple could be looking to market share, or even have its eye on the prestige of Oscars and Emmys.

Whatever it's after, and whatever advantages and disadvantages Apple TV+ has, it would be foolish to bet against the company's efforts. It has patience, and money, to spare.
15ngcs1
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    xixoxixo Posts: 427member
    Hollywood is noted for extracting cash from outsiders.
    cy_starkmanrare commentdavgreg
  • Reply 2 of 32
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,026member
    When I was young an TV series would produce about 26 episodes per season. Of course these were not big budget shows like Westworld but still a wide range of programs. 
    It will be interesting to see if Apple sticks to "quality" for the long haul or buy some filler programs to keep people coming back. Unlike in the old days of network broadcast people have too many choices and little loyalty to most shows. 
    jahblade
  • Reply 3 of 32
    hardware and services

    will this sell more hardware? nope.

    will this increase profit from services? err, lets do some napkin numbers

    $6billion sunk, for at best 2 months content, 2 months of service sells for $10.

    will the service EVER have 600,000,000 subscribers?

    netflix only has 150million subs and that is accessible on every device, operating system and many televisions. Apple has 1billion potential delivery points, which is at best 1/3 to 1/4 of the potential points netflix does.. so even at the same uptake rate Apple will be lucky to even reach 50million subs.

    something does not add up, not this year and probably not ever. none of the sunk costs in the current content will reduce the cost of future content.

    sure, semi random figures, true sunk amount unknown etc. but come on, a very generous 50 million subs only turns over $500million every two months. $6billion a year. not a quarter, not every 2 months... and you get it free for a year with every new hardware... so like, no income at all because this will sell exactly NO new hardware to anyone.

    apple will claim ridiculous subs because free, it will claim to be the biggest streaming service on earth in the first 12 months, because free with hardware sales

    and make no money. patience and deep pockets don’t matter at that point.

    what is the point?

    a hedge against being broken up into different companies? to make sure Apple Services has a full complement when the government splits them - that is the only reason i can see.
    edited October 1 Metriacanthosaurusphilboogie
  • Reply 4 of 32
    jccjcc Posts: 232member
    Classic ”diworsification”
    edited October 1 cy_starkman
  • Reply 5 of 32
    Apple spent $80 billion on stock buybacks last year, so I'm not sure why anyone would worry about the cost/budgeting for Apple TV+ in the near future.
    15ngcs1MacProwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 32
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,079member
    hardware and services

    will this sell more hardware? nope.

    will this increase profit from services? err, lets do some napkin numbers

    $6billion sunk, for at best 2 months content, 2 months of service sells for $10.

    will the service EVER have 600,000,000 subscribers?

    netflix only has 150million subs and that is accessible on every device, operating system and many televisions. Apple has 1billion potential delivery points, which is at best 1/3 to 1/4 of the potential points netflix does.. so even at the same uptake rate Apple will be lucky to even reach 50million subs.

    something does not add up, not this year and probably not ever. none of the sunk costs in the current content will reduce the cost of future content.

    sure, semi random figures, true sunk amount unknown etc. but come on, a very generous 50 million subs only turns over $500million every two months. $6billion a year. not a quarter, not every 2 months... and you get it free for a year with every new hardware... so like, no income at all because this will sell exactly NO new hardware to anyone.

    apple will claim ridiculous subs because free, it will claim to be the biggest streaming service on earth in the first 12 months, because free with hardware sales

    and make no money. patience and deep pockets don’t matter at that point.

    what is the point?

    a hedge against being broken up into different companies? to make sure Apple Services has a full complement when the government splits them - that is the only reason i can see.

    6 billion a year would be an amazing feat.  I don't think they'll reach it, but I'm sure they'd be happy.  

    As for the prospects for success, I'm really skeptical.  There is just such a limited content library.  As the authors note, I think Apple is going to have to acquire a huge back catalog of titles to make this work.  Even if they had 15 original shows, is that enough?  There is a huge amount of competition for streaming dollars.  I have Netflix and HBO, as well as Amazon Prime.  Even with just those three, I canceled Netflix for a month because I wasn't watching it.  A few new seasons of shows I liked came out, so I re-activated.  I refuse to pay for CBS All Access, for example, just to watch Star Trek:  Discovery (which is all I'd be watching).  

    I think Apple TV+ would be a more compelling product if they coupled their original content with not only a back catalog they purchased, but cord-cutting TV plans as well.  I'm at the point where I'd give my FiOS service the boot if I could access the content I watch (news, live sports, a few cable network shows) for a reasonable price.  I'm not tacking on another $5 a month right now though.  
    flyingdpcy_starkmanphilboogiewatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 32
    Apple spent $80 billion on stock buybacks last year, so I'm not sure why anyone would worry about the cost/budgeting for Apple TV+ in the near future.
    No one is worrying about Apple coming up with the cash to blow.

    What people worry about is more nuanced than that. It is worrisome to see Apple spending a lot of money to produce junk content that no one asked for, and then turning around and pretending that it is a huge success because they're counting every hardware purchase as a $60 year of TV. Despite the fact that no one has paid for it directly, and no one has willingly subscribed to it. After the first year when none of those people continue using it, they can hide all the dropoff by only reporting "new" subs, which will be in the tens of millions thanks to new hardware sales. This pollutes the entire industry with fraud. 

    What people actually want, we can't have, because Apple has failed under Eddy Cue to negotiate anything groundbreaking in the way of TV licensing:
    - No subscription to iTunes Movies or TV Shows...of any kind. Fail.
    - Apple TV Channels includes only small-time content providers and none of the top 3. Not even their own licensed catalog.

    Because of these abject failures, Apple changed course and dumped the cash into this new plan, that no one wants, no one asked, no one will subscribe to, but will still be heralded as a major success, paving the way for more such delusions.
    gatorguyfelix01flyingdpcy_starkmanphilboogie
  • Reply 8 of 32
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,213member
    Modern TV shows suck. I wish Apple would get the rights to some older/classic shows. One of the reasons I subscribed to Netflix is it was the one place you could stream The West Wing and The Wonder Years. I’m sure others were there because of Friends or The Office. Amazon Prime had the show Thirtysomething but it’s currently unavailable. The hard part is a lot of these classic shows are owned by media companies with their own streaming services coming. 20th Century Fox is owned by Disney, WarnerMedia is owned by AT&T, Paramount will be owned by CBS, and of course NBCUniversal owned by Comcast which has the Peacock stream service coming.

    I just don’t see how Apple TV+ can be successful with just original programming or well known franchise. People aren’t going to sign up for all these different services. They’re going to pick a couple and ones that have a back catalogue of stuff will be more enticing. I still don’t think Apple has done a good job explaining why Apple TV+ exists. Does Apple think there’s not enough TV content available? Do they think the TV content from everyone else is crap and they’re going to do TV programming better? Wall Street will say it’s a way to extract more $$ out of existing customers. But that’s not why you design and build a product. 
    muthuk_vanalingamrare commentflyingdpphilboogie
  • Reply 9 of 32
    Metriacanthosaurus said: It is worrisome to see Apple spending a lot of money to produce junk content that no one asked for, and then turning around and pretending that it is a huge success because they're counting every hardware purchase as a $60 year of TV. Despite the fact that no one has paid for it directly, and no one has willingly subscribed to it. After the first year when none of those people continue using it, they can hide all the dropoff by only reporting "new" subs, which will be in the tens of millions thanks to new hardware sales. This pollutes the entire industry with fraud. 
    Do you consider Amazon including Prime Video for free to Amazon Prime subscribers fraudulent? It's not like this is a new idea...to tie a free service to a hardware sale or to signing up with a particular cellular provider. Apple TV+ is a value-added proposition for their current or future customers. 
    rare commentn2itivguyrandominternetperson15ngcs1StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 32
    Fair points, but underlying the entire editorial is the dubious proposition that Apple wants to be like Netflix, etc.  It seems increasingly clear that Apple has no desire to have a large back catalogue of stuff that most people don't care to watch. Instead, they seem to intend to be more of a HBO, indeed as HBO transitions under its new owner to having more and more content, Apple may be the only high quality focused service out there.  Apple outmaneuvered the entire industry in offering a monthly service at the price of a single movie rental.  Likely tens of millions will sign up at that price to be able to watch a few shows and movies that Apple rolls out each month. All of Apple's shows don't have to be hits, they won't. all Apple TV + has to do is offer a couple things people want to watch, and they will be on.  The other thing the article may underplay is that by the end of the first year, Apple TV + will have already become the largest streaming service in the WORLD.  Again, ingenious on Apple's part to offer a free year long subscription.  That's over 200 MILLION more likely viewers.  If you are a producer of content, actor, etc., that's where you will want to be as no one will have close to the eyeballs that Apple will.  
    Deelron15ngcs1StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 32
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 4,302member
    I'm somewhat divided on this. Streaming is a young industry that is now becoming commercially widespread in certain markets but is already oversaturated. There is far too much content out there already, making the subscription itself, and not the specific content, the final goal. The avalanche of content won't stop coming any time soon and quantity isn't the same as quality. I think subscribers could grow tired of subscribing and fall back on what they already know which could be services with large back catalogues of tried and trusted content.

    Jumping into a saturated market is going to be hard and free subscriptions or low cost initial subscriptions don't last forever. Pumping money into the business makes sense to gain traction but if things don't stabilise over time and the investments are the same (or increase) you have to ponder how far you are willing to go.

    The good news is that 6 billion is loose change for Apple and all content created will retain some value years down the line and there is a long term return to be had if you free it up to other providers at some point.

    In an oversaturated market with huge subscriber fragmentation, blockbuster revenue earners like Friends or Big Bang Theory etc would have a hard time today gaining such a huge following.

    Convergence would appear to be the only way to stabilise things and convergence comes at a price. If Apple is willing to put more big money on the table it could end up with a huge chunk of the pie.

    I think the risk is worth it, as things stand today but it needs time to get a real foothold.
    randominternetperson15ngcs1
  • Reply 12 of 32
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,079member
    Modern TV shows suck. I wish Apple would get the rights to some older/classic shows. One of the reasons I subscribed to Netflix is it was the one place you could stream The West Wing and The Wonder Years. I’m sure others were there because of Friends or The Office. Amazon Prime had the show Thirtysomething but it’s currently unavailable. The hard part is a lot of these classic shows are owned by media companies with their own streaming services coming. 20th Century Fox is owned by Disney, WarnerMedia is owned by AT&T, Paramount will be owned by CBS, and of course NBCUniversal owned by Comcast which has the Peacock stream service coming.

    I just don’t see how Apple TV+ can be successful with just original programming or well known franchise. People aren’t going to sign up for all these different services. They’re going to pick a couple and ones that have a back catalogue of stuff will be more enticing. I still don’t think Apple has done a good job explaining why Apple TV+ exists. Does Apple think there’s not enough TV content available? Do they think the TV content from everyone else is crap and they’re going to do TV programming better? Wall Street will say it’s a way to extract more $$ out of existing customers. But that’s not why you design and build a product. 

    I agree with much of that, with the exception of "modern TV shows suck."  I would argue that the last decade and a half of TV has been the best ever.   Think about the shows that have come out or existed since 2004:  

    Lost
    Breaking Bad
    The Wire 
    Dexter
    Sons of Anarchy 
    Rescue Me 
    Better Call Saul 
    Justified 
    The Sopranos (still going in 2004) 
    24 (still going throughout 2000's and 2010's)
    Homeland  
    House of Cards
    The Walking Dead 
    The Colbert Report
    Fargo 
    The Americans 
    OITNB 
    Veep 
    The Deuce 
    Game of Thrones
    Mad Men 

    I've seen most of these, but not all.  There are a lot of misses, but we are in a golden age of TV at this point.  




    randominternetpersonflyingdp15ngcs1StrangeDaysMacProwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 32
    sdw2001 said: There are a lot of misses, but we are in a golden age of TV at this point.  
    It's definitely been a golden age for serialized content with long running continuous storylines. Personally, I've kind of burned out on that format. I've come to the conclusion that most writers for TV really don't have any fresh ideas beyond a couple of years for a given show. Stretching continuous storylines longer than that doesn't improve anything, it just lengthens the amount of time they can make money from it (if it's popular enough). 
    cy_starkmanwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 32
    Creating content isn't a spend once and money blown scenario. Look how much cash Friends and Seinfeld are still generating. Apple is providing different avenues of content services and you can bet a bundle package is on its way. If they have a couple of shows I want to watch and it's an extra couple of bucks a month on top of my Apple music then, yeah, I'll pay for that and Apple has me deeper and deeper in their world. Netflix should be scared.

    There's also the point that Apple can now control some of the public narrative. They think someone like Oprah is worth listening to, they can help make that happen. Less about making money and more about having voices heard. 
    15ngcs1watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 32
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,079member
    sdw2001 said: There are a lot of misses, but we are in a golden age of TV at this point.  
    It's definitely been a golden age for serialized content with long running continuous storylines. Personally, I've kind of burned out on that format. I've come to the conclusion that most writers for TV really don't have any fresh ideas beyond a couple of years for a given show. Stretching continuous storylines longer than that doesn't improve anything, it just lengthens the amount of time they can make money from it (if it's popular enough). 

    So you're interested in weekly dramas and sitcoms?  If that's the case, I suppose you're right about the content.  That clearly doesn't reflect what the market wants, though.  As for TV writers, you're stating a tautological truth.  No TV writers can come up with original ideas past say, 6 seasons.  7 seasons is an outlier.  Shows that go 8 seasons usually end up disappointing their fans with their endings or final chapters (GOT is an example, though I didn't hate the ending at all).  Another example is The Walking Dead.  I've invested years in watching it, but it's gotten to the point now where I'm losing interest.  The last two seasons have barely held my interest.  We'll see if I keep watching.   
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 32
    Metriacanthosaurus said: It is worrisome to see Apple spending a lot of money to produce junk content that no one asked for, and then turning around and pretending that it is a huge success because they're counting every hardware purchase as a $60 year of TV. Despite the fact that no one has paid for it directly, and no one has willingly subscribed to it. After the first year when none of those people continue using it, they can hide all the dropoff by only reporting "new" subs, which will be in the tens of millions thanks to new hardware sales. This pollutes the entire industry with fraud. 
    Do you consider Amazon including Prime Video for free to Amazon Prime subscribers fraudulent? It's not like this is a new idea...to tie a free service to a hardware sale or to signing up with a particular cellular provider. Apple TV+ is a value-added proposition for their current or future customers. 
    Another way to think of it is: "We want to deliver something valuable to customers but that doesn't cost us more for each delivery. So we can't move everyone to OLED or add storage. But content has near zero marginal cost for each new customer and so it is a real benefit for customers without scaling up in cost as we add customers. And it makes AppleTV, iPads and Macs more valuable at the same time." I'm still not convinced but, if you assume Apple wanted to deliver SOMETHING, video is a good choice even with the astronomical figures.
    philboogiewatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 32
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,213member
    sdw2001 said:
    Modern TV shows suck. I wish Apple would get the rights to some older/classic shows. One of the reasons I subscribed to Netflix is it was the one place you could stream The West Wing and The Wonder Years. I’m sure others were there because of Friends or The Office. Amazon Prime had the show Thirtysomething but it’s currently unavailable. The hard part is a lot of these classic shows are owned by media companies with their own streaming services coming. 20th Century Fox is owned by Disney, WarnerMedia is owned by AT&T, Paramount will be owned by CBS, and of course NBCUniversal owned by Comcast which has the Peacock stream service coming.

    I just don’t see how Apple TV+ can be successful with just original programming or well known franchise. People aren’t going to sign up for all these different services. They’re going to pick a couple and ones that have a back catalogue of stuff will be more enticing. I still don’t think Apple has done a good job explaining why Apple TV+ exists. Does Apple think there’s not enough TV content available? Do they think the TV content from everyone else is crap and they’re going to do TV programming better? Wall Street will say it’s a way to extract more $$ out of existing customers. But that’s not why you design and build a product. 

    I agree with much of that, with the exception of "modern TV shows suck."  I would argue that the last decade and a half of TV has been the best ever.   Think about the shows that have come out or existed since 2004:  

    Lost
    Breaking Bad
    The Wire 
    Dexter
    Sons of Anarchy 
    Rescue Me 
    Better Call Saul 
    Justified 
    The Sopranos (still going in 2004) 
    24 (still going throughout 2000's and 2010's)
    Homeland  
    House of Cards
    The Walking Dead 
    The Colbert Report
    Fargo 
    The Americans 
    OITNB 
    Veep 
    The Deuce 
    Game of Thrones
    Mad Men 

    I've seen most of these, but not all.  There are a lot of misses, but we are in a golden age of TV at this point.  




    I was being a bit hyperbolic. Though I don’t know if I’d say this era is the best ever. Still I think Apple I’d screwed because getting rights to legacy content will be nearly impossible.
    mobird
  • Reply 18 of 32
    The editorial's comment: "Netflix, Amazon and Disney may have exceptional brand loyalty, but none of them make a device that a large percentage of Americans carry around in their pockets" is accurate but seems irrelevant. Each is available on every device that TV+ is available on. So I don't think Apple has a special advantage over N, A or D - Apple's advantage is over newcomers who need to break through to introduce their services. ps. I include Disney even though Disney+ hasn't launched because I understand that Disney+ has already gotten enough interest to be in this group with 20% intention to subscribe - https://www.indiewire.com/2019/06/disney-plus-survey-1202148239/).
    sdw2001watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 32
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,289member
    Modern TV shows suck. I wish Apple would get the rights to some older/classic shows. One of the reasons I subscribed to Netflix is it was the one place you could stream The West Wing and The Wonder Years. I’m sure others were there because of Friends or The Office. Amazon Prime had the show Thirtysomething but it’s currently unavailable. The hard part is a lot of these classic shows are owned by media companies with their own streaming services coming. 20th Century Fox is owned by Disney, WarnerMedia is owned by AT&T, Paramount will be owned by CBS, and of course NBCUniversal owned by Comcast which has the Peacock stream service coming.

    I just don’t see how Apple TV+ can be successful with just original programming or well known franchise. People aren’t going to sign up for all these different services. They’re going to pick a couple and ones that have a back catalogue of stuff will be more enticing. I still don’t think Apple has done a good job explaining why Apple TV+ exists. Does Apple think there’s not enough TV content available? Do they think the TV content from everyone else is crap and they’re going to do TV programming better? Wall Street will say it’s a way to extract more $$ out of existing customers. But that’s not why you design and build a product. 
    The Wonder Years was one of the few shows that I personally connected with. Had no idea it was available on Netflix which I was getting ready to cancel for a couple months.  I'll wait and be checking it out. Thanks!
  • Reply 20 of 32
    arlorarlor Posts: 514member
    Notsofast said:
    Fair points, but underlying the entire editorial is the dubious proposition that Apple wants to be like Netflix, etc.  It seems increasingly clear that Apple has no desire to have a large back catalogue of stuff that most people don't care to watch. Instead, they seem to intend to be more of a HBO, indeed as HBO transitions under its new owner to having more and more content, Apple may be the only high quality focused service out there.    
    This may be a good analysis, but even before HBO's strategy shift, they had a heck of a lot more content than Apple will have anytime soon. HBO's been making original content for far longer than they've had a streaming service, so they had a substantial back catalog right from the beginning. 
    sdw2001philboogie
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