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Apple TV+: A Non-Starter or The Next Big Thing?

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Ariz Suban
Ariz Suban Feb 23, 2020

With the streaming war heating up, Apple is going up against one of the biggest content creators of the century. As credible entertainment sources like HBO and Disney rise up to challenge the supreme leader Netflix, the only possible way for Apple to survive this intense tussle is by generating impeccable, high-quality content. And If I can be brutal here, Apple TV+ isn’t even in the same league as others.

The fact that Disney, with its century load of dominating content and the art of commercializing cuteness, has not yet launched itself in the Indian market is a relief for Apple, though momentary. But if instead of generating original content, shadowing big leaguers is the only thing Apple is interested in, things might get difficult. 

Is Apple late to the party?

A lot of people have probably wondered about this. I’m guessing so have you. Even if I were to ignore the massive trend set up by Netflix and Amazon (funny how I’m classifying them together) and the amount of content and potential Disney has, I’d still have to say that Apple IS late to the party.

…and without a limo?

I’ve gotta give it to Apple, though. It takes courage jumping into an arena full of giants without your best arsenal. (Or it could be a whole lot of foolhardiness, too!) 

However, as an average streamer currently weighed down by countless new emerging platforms, an above-par, star-studded drama (Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carrel’s The Morning Show) and a mild HBO ripoff (Hunky Jason Mamoa’s See) isn’t going to cut it for me. If you can’t give me something to be hysterical about on social media, sadly the free services you’re providing might be the last thing I avail.  

Payload delivery – binge v/s demi-binge

At the top of the chain, Netflix defined binge for my whole generation. Personally, I think Netflix played it pretty safe, but in the process, created a pretty good and catchy trend. The confidence with which Apple seeks to deliver content for a demi-binge (throwing in a first few episodes at once and then retracting to the traditional weekly schedule) is impressive. Whether this approach is going to be another trendsetter or just an applaud-worthy attempt is yet to be seen. 

Exclusive…too much?

One thing I’ve always liked about Apple is the trust it has in its individuality. Currently, Apple TV+ is available only on iOS devices and Amazon Fire TV. While the unavailability of Apple TV+ on android devices definitely limits its viewers, it also gives hardcore-iOS fanboys something to gloat over. But the exclusion of a huge chunk of android users poses another question: Has Apple finally gone overboard with its obsession for exclusivity? Wouldn’t a wider audience be helpful in promoting their new streaming service? Should they really be concerned about protecting their ecosystem at this stage? 

I believe they should be playing the numbers game right now, but whether this ‘Apple fam-only’ strategy furthers their cause or hinders it, in the long run, is something that only time will reveal.

Is Apple doing enough to sell Apple TV+?

Honestly, no. The content needs to earn its credibility. Though to be fair, it is pretty early to be a sceptic about the kind of content Apple is trying to generate. Whether the free service that Apple has tried to rope in its customers with (Apple TV+ is free for all the new apple customers for a year) generates subscribers or not depends on the content for the upcoming year. Personally, I liked Dickinson, but if you shove another dystopian sci-fi with a lack of narrative in my face, at least stop positioning it as the next Game Of Thrones.

Needless to say, the stakes are high. I’d really like to get inside Apple’s content creation studio just to get a basic understanding of the atmosphere there. If I were to hazard a guess, chaos and insurmountable pressure would be my best bet and the team should really get ready for more.

How one of the biggest innovators in the world fare against some other very big names in a completely new battlefield is still up for speculations. But when you’re in with the big leaguers, you get a very small opening for your shots. And I’m pretty sure execs at Apple are not in the mood to miss.

So,  the verdict? Apple TV+ and … chill? That doesn’t even sound good. But who’s to say it won’t catch on, huh?

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