Aiming for reinvention, Apple eyes streaming, services

Rs 250 for a month possible? Sure, says Netflix, which is testing low-cost subscription plan for mobile users in India
Netflix Testing a Mobile-Only Subscription Plan in India, Confirms Streaming Service

25 March, 2019

"If I was an American broadcast network, I would have thought twice about giving all of my library to Netflix", Thompson said in response to questions about any talks with Apple to participate in the iPhone maker's new news service.

"Not everyone will see these options and we may never roll out these specific plans beyond the tests", the Netflix spokesperson added.

What is clear is that the tech giant will be jumping into an already crowded - and growing -- streaming market.

Amazon Prime Video, along with a slew of home-grown OTT players like Hotstar, ALTBalaji, ZEE5, Voot, etc, are now enjoying a king's share in India's video-streaming market, but the tables could turn soon. Last year, the company also opened its India office in Mumbai and has acquired a 1.5 lakh sq ft office space in the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) of Mumbai.

Netflix gained popularity with "catalog" shows and movies from Hollywood and television studios but has been investing heavily in its own content in recent years.

Apple is expected to launch its long-awaited streaming service on March 25 at its next major launch event, having sent out invitations with the title "It's show time". It's certainly possible, as it might attract new viewers previously unwilling to shell out the full cost for a monthly plan.

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The move shouldn't come as a surprise, of course, as this is exactly what Apple is trying to do with its premium news and magazine service, based on the idea that publishers and media companies can gain more customers by joining Apple's unified subscription model than they can get by going it alone, and Apple is further banking on the fact that more and more consumers are suffering from "subscription fatigue" as they juggle multiple services and subscriptions. This service won't take on new cloud-based streaming offerings like Google Stadia.

Apple has been so secretive about its bundling plans that numerous main participants in its "channels" product don't know how it plans to package the services and what it plans to charge, according to people familiar. Apple is expected to take 50 per cent of the revenue.

Like Netflix, Amazon may also lose content from studio libraries in the coming years but it too has its original shows and movies including the Oscar-winning "Manchester by the Sea". For instance, Apple could create an entirely new storefront for Apple TV users that would offer multiple bundles of content, similar to what cable providers have been doing for years.

The media-entertainment unit of Comcast, NBCUniversal has said it will launch an ad-supported streaming service in 2020. As Recode points out, this means Apple can set its own prices, and while that likely won't lead to Apple undercutting its partners, it could mean Apple will offer discounted channel bundles.

According to Bloomberg News, the website Vox would also be part of the Apple News effort.

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