Big names but no shows at unconvincing Apple TV+ streaming service reveal

posted on Tuesday, 26th March 2019 by Steve May

Apple  Streaming  Broadcast 

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Apple finally announced its streaming TV proposition at its eagerly anticipated Services rollout, but didn’t show any original TV clips, nor commit to a subscription fee.

It did however bring on a cast of creative veterans to emphasise its intentions, including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg (who only weeks ago was decrying Netflix's eligibility for the Academy Awards), Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, J.J. Abrams, Jason Momoa and M. Night Shyamalan.

The iPhone maker says its “subscribers will enjoy inspiring and authentic stories with emotional depth and compelling characters from all walks of life, ad-free and on demand.”

“We’re honoured that the absolute best lineup of storytellers in the world, both in front of and behind the camera, are coming to Apple TV+,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We’re thrilled to give viewers a sneak peek of Apple TV+ and cannot wait for them to tune in starting this autumn. Apple TV+ will be home to some of the highest quality original storytelling that TV and movie lovers have seen yet.”

Crucially, it announced a new Apple TV app which will allow access to the streaming service on smart TVs, as well as iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac and Amazon Fire TV and Roku streaming devices.

Apple will also sell an Apple TV channel package. In the US this will comprise HBO, Showtime, Starz, Amazon Prime Video and CBS All Access. Through Family Sharing, users can share Apple TV+ and subscriptions to Apple TV channels.

Although touted as a rival to Netflix, the Apple TV+ proposition seems curiously safe, cloyingly corporate, even dated.

“The bundle of channels and integration of cable services looks promising, although it is heavily US-focused at present,” says Martin Garner, Senior Vice President at CCS Insight. “With launch across over 100 countries over the coming months, Apple has a long way to go with content partnerships in other countries to bring fuller localisation.”

Toby Chapman, Partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants, suggets that there’s also a limited appetite from consumers for yet more SVOD.

“Apple is yet another player with massively deep pockets trying to sign up consumers onto a monthly subscription. The issue here is that market cannot support many more of these services. Hulu, Disney, Britbox, Prime Video, and a string of specialist services such as Curiosity stream and DAZN are already overburdening consumers with choices as it is.”

It remains to be seen if Apple can produce a service which competes with the content being produced by Netflix, Amazon, and significantly, Disney, given that it states it wants to schedule 'family-friendly' content. There was no talk about technical standards, although it’s likely that any new content will be produced in 4k HDR with immersive sound.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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