It’s no surprise that Apple looks set to announce a move into the entertainment business – given the current rumours that it is in conversation with Hollywood and after its recent foray into music streaming, which garnered 11 million trial users within a month of launching.
It may just be coincidence, or it could be that Apple has been testing the waters of its live streaming offering to see where its audiences are willing to follow the brand.
Apple already has a massive stake in the market place with Apple TV, Beats and Apple Music; its new service is rumoured to offer its own original content alongside 25 channels including major television networks. This could be a substantial threat to both Amazon and Netflix who have already claimed their share of the video streaming pie. But amidst rumours of both Spotify and Twitter also looking to create their own video content, it seems that it won’t be long before many of the top brands are clamouring to get a foothold in the video-streaming sector – one way or another.
If Apple manages to create a strong video offering to audiences, it would be casting a substantial shadow over not just the content streaming market space, but traditional big media as well. Combined with its already vast array of products and services, as well as powerful brand loyalty, Apple makes an intimidating contender in almost any market space.
One question that has to be raised is whether Apple could be biting off more than it can chew – there’s a risk with spreading a brand too thinly, trying to be a Jack-of-all-trades comes with the distinct possibility of being master of none. While Apple has been a brand synonymous with high-quality software, technology and products, it will be hard to reproduce this kind of brand trust in offering original video content, an area where Apple has next to no authority… yet. As a brand that has always been a stickler for the best quality, excellent taste and top design, it would be unlikely that any content Apple produces would be uninspiring, unentertaining or sub par.
It won’t just be the content that determines its success though; how Apple broaches the move to creating content as well as the way it is distributed will have just as much sway as the content itself. It would be logical for Apple to take the road most travelled as they move into uncharted territory, following in the footsteps of Amazon in terms of producing content before making the leap into entirely original content. But as a brand with such a colossal and overtly loyal following, they can afford to take bigger chances and cut right through to creating something completely unique.
Ultimately Apple needs more than just a big following to take on Amazon and Netflix, it will have to earn its audience and work hard to keep it. The best players in the field don’t always play big – they play smart. This is where Amazon and Netflix have had some time to carve out a niche market place, hone their skills and really get to know their audiences. It will take some very good strategy and even better content to knock these players from their pedestals. That being said, these two giants, who have been dominating the field, could use some strong competition to keep them on their toes and ensure that they continue to innovate, push the boundaries and create even better content.
Clare Broadbent is CEO of Cedar Communications