On November 2, 2019, Stuart Sweet wrote “The streaming hardware wars are over. Apple won.” He couldn’t have been more wrong if he tried, and that’s saying something!
In his doomed blog post, Stuart managed to get a couple things right. He said, “Apple wasn’t first, they aren’t necessarily best, and they’re more expensive.” He went wrong when he said that Apple won. In his defense, he was talking about hardware. I like to discuss streaming services and the content they provide. These are two separate things but they’re intimately related. To me, a streaming service will sink or swim based on its content before it ever will its hardware. I don’t even have to prove that point because a cord-cutting service already did it for me.
The Free Promotion that Flopped
Flixed, a cord-cutting service, surveyed more than 1,000 Apple TV+ viewers. They found a discrepancy between the people who said they’d renew Apple TV+ after their free trial and the number of folks who actually did. About one-fifth of the respondents got a one-year trial when they bought an Apple device. Among that group, 59% claimed they’d renew at $4.99. Unfortunately, this sounds like hopeful idealism when you consider this fact from Flixed:
Only 28% of the people on the seven-day trial decided to continue to pay for Apple TV+.
The most these former Apple TV+ users wanted to pay was $1-$2/month for the service! Apparently, it didn’t offer the value for the money. Some industry pundits compared this to Apple’s failed promotion of The Morning Show. The company spent as much as $15 million per episode to get people to watch the show. Long story short, 44% of its viewers didn’t watch the series to the end. Could this be symbolic of some people’s experience with this streaming service?
Not Enough Content… Yet
That’s hardly the stuff huge victories in the streaming services war are made of. It might be stretch to say that The Morning Show’s failure is indicative of Apple TV+ as a whole. Every streaming service has its hits and misses, and Stuart and I often talk about them here. In fact, he had this to say about it:
“I did sit through the entirety of The Morning Show. It was a lot of drama and a lot of tears. It didn’t feel real or honest and I was very very disappointed.”
The Morning Show’s flop wouldn’t be such a big deal if Apple TV+ had more checks in its win column. Today’s streaming services must have so much content that the bad shows, or those that get canceled way too soon, are few and far between. In the case of Apple TV+, my assumption is that the streaming service is still too new to have enough content to justify the price.
I’ll Keep Streaming and So Should You
What else can we do? Wait around for Apple TV+ to take over the world? Well, I have a little prediction as far as that’s concerned. I think many people on the one-year trial will dump it when the time comes. Also, the hardware will have nothing to do with their decision. As I said above, it’s still too new for most people to justify the investment. Now, if some of its original content starts winning Golden Globes, that could flip the script. As for me, I’m still looking forward to the release of AT&T’s HBO Max.