At last week’s Code Media Conference Apple’s Senior Vice President of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, discussed recent efforts by the company to produce original video content for its Apple Music streaming platform.
Apple and Cue readily admit they are not ready to take on the giants of Netflix and Amazon, but are slowly entering the original video content market. Many people in the television industry expected the company, typically known for its game changing innovation, to use their clout to challenge streaming services like Netflix and Amazon as well as HBO GO and Showtime right away. However, Apple is planning to start slow. At the Code Conference, SVP Cue spoke at length about their new series “Carpool Karaoke” due for release in April and also announced a contest reality show, “Planet of the Apps.”
“Carpool Karaoke” is the first of Apple’s original content exclusive to the Apple Music streaming software. It is a spin off from James Corden’s “Late, Late Show” segment that has become a viral sensation. “Planet of the Apps” is basically, “Shark Tank” goes Silicon Valley. Apple has put together a star studded panel of Jessica Alba, Will.I.Am, Gweneth Paltrow, and Gary Vaynerchuck to judge contestants’ app ideas. The contestants then have the ability to team up with one of the judges and pitch their idea to a venture capital firm. The trailer, as well as an interesting article about the new show can be found on FierceCable.
At the conference, Cue was asked why Apple didn’t just go out and buy an entertainment company to flip the industry on its head. Cue deflected, “This is new for us. We’ve never done anything like this before. We know what we don’t know.” He wants Apple to remain different from other streaming services. “The things we’re trying to do aren’t being done by anyone else. We’re trying to do something that’s unique, that takes advantage of our platform.” It is clear that Apple has focused their content strategy on original video, but they are smart enough to not overdo it too early. When Eddy Cue says “We know what we don’t know,” he’s talking about streaming TV and movie content. Apple is savvy enough to not just buy an entertainment company and flood their streaming service with random content. They want the right content that keeps current subscribers as well as bring in new ones. That’s what they have done with their new shows. To check out some more of Cue’s excerpts from the Code Media Conference, check out Meg James’ article from the LA Times.
While content remains important to Apple and Cue, how this stuff gets out there is just as crucial. Cue believes that distributing the content through Apple Music is great way to get new subscribers for what is already the fastest growing subscription service in the world. He explains that after 18 months and 15 months after free trials ended, Apple Music has over 20 million subscribers. Through Apple Music the shows will be available on Apple TV’s, IPads, Iphones, and the company is already experimenting with other ways of viewing the content.
Eddy Cue spoke about the evolving nature of content viewing, going on about how much it is changing. He’s hoping for a more interactive platform, allowing content creators to provide a more engaging experience. To read more about the interactive content and distribution from Apple as well as the Code Conference, visit this Tech Crunch Article.
Streaming services should be happy to hear about Apple’s passive strategy in entering the original content market. Although, be on notice Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, etc. it is coming. I believe it is smart move to start slow, create some content that is original and unique. Content that is tailor made for your current subscribers, but Apple could become a beast in the industry at some point down the road if they decide to do something similar to Amazon prime and Netflix.