OTish: Apple versus Netflix?
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
Professor, VCU Brandcenter
While I like Netflix and their original programming, I've been waiting for this battle for a while now. Hopefully Apple with AppleTV can make better deals. I see no reason why I can't watch my favorite Hitchcock film anytime I want without searching across the whole internet and possibly picking up a virus in the process. If it's digital, it should be available.
Hardly OT, Scott -- we can bring this right back!
Apple's new long-form production division will surely run Media Composer on ISIS for that collaborative workflow, right? Or maybe you were thinking they'd become a case study for Adobe Anywhere?
(Insert smiley here to ensure levity is properly conveyed online.)
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
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[Walter Soyka] "Apple's new long-form production division will surely run Media Composer on ISIS "
I'm no longer on top of this, but through the middle of the aughts, that was certainly true of Pixar.
[Craig Shields] "Hopefully Apple with AppleTV can make better deals. "
Not in the beginning, no. Maybe never.
The movie and TV studios have been very wary of getting in bed with Apple, because iTunes decimated their record labels, while making Apple rich. THe phrase I've heard many many times is that the studios are trying to avoid getting "iTuned" into oblivion.
For that matter, on the music side, Spotify was a hedge against Apple AND Amazon who were both pursuing the same model. It's why labels were such big investors in Spotify from the beginning. Warners is thus far the only label to expose the numbers, but after being available in the US for only 4 years, streaming revenue has surpassed download revenue.
In Europe (where Spotify was founded and first made available), Spotify alone passed iTunes quite a while ago, which is what motivated Apple to spend $3 billion to acquire Beats. One of Apple's main profit centers was bleeding too heavily to sustain.
Can you imagine what Netflix has done to, say, iTunes sales of downloaded seasons of Breaking Bad?
This has suited the studios just fine. The rise of Netflix, Amazon, and yes, Redbox, which is doing great business, has been embraced as an explicit hedge against getting "iTuned."
The first thing to break the logjam for Apple moving into MUSIC streaming was Steve Jobs dying. A streaming deal was never going to happen while he was alive. He'd destroyed any kind of trust, and it was never going to be rebuilt.
Tim Cook has been very quietly spending years undoing Steve's damage, not just here, but on many other fronts. But as much respect as Tim Cook has generated personally, and as much esteem as he has returned to Apple (which seriously, under Steve, had burned every bridge in every form of media, including books), there was still the bad taste that Apple had left in everyone's mouth.
This has everything to do with why Apple TV has been so underwhelming even compared to Roku. It HAD to focus on the increasingly irrelevant iTunes ecosystem, for the same reason it HAD to add Netflix, YouTube, etc support. No matter how badly you want to, you can't launch a programming platform without programming -- and nobody out there was gonna sign new deals with Apple on new platforms.
Enter Jimmy Iovine.
Remember when Tim Cook said that a big part of the $3 billion to buy Beats was to buy Jimmy Iovine? It's because he was a label guy. After a production career that included chart toppers for Lennon, Springsteen, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, he founded Interscope Records (whose first big signing was Tupac Shakur, a BIG signing).
Interscope became Interscope Geffen A&M after a merger, which meant that when he came to Apple, HE's the one with the credibility to say, "Guys, you know the deals we signed together at Beats, when I didn't screw you, when you were happy? You remember when I got screwed by Apple the same way you did? Things have changed here. I'M here now, and I won't let them screw you" --- well now, NOW there's something to talk about, and someone to talk about it with.
It should also be noted that in interviews NOW, Jimmy has acknowledged that he founded Beats hoping to bought by Apple. Good move for Jimmy AND Apple. Apple's gonna make this $3 billion back in no time at all.
Jimmy also has credibility in movies. He produced soundtracks for movies going back to 16 Candles, and as a producer of movies (not just the soundtracks), he came out of the gate with the Oscar-winning 8 Mile.
So, he once again gets to say, "Guys, you know that I know what it's like to sit on your side of the table. I used to sit right beside you. I know what it's like to get screwed in these kinds of deals, and I won't let it happen to you."
Well well well, NOW we have something to talk about.
So yeah, what ALL these guys have realized -- every cable channel, every platform, EVERYBODY -- is that there's a ceiling to the amount of money you can earn from somebody else's stuff. You can spend a ton less on rights, and maximize viewer stickiness, if you give people a UNIQUE reason to watch.
Even YouTube just over a month ago hired Susanne Daniels, former head of programming at MTV to develop original programming. Laugh all you want about "they don't play videos anymore" and "their reality programming brought down the whole industry" but their SCRIPTED programming under her direction has blossomed into some of the smartest and sharpest anywhere on TV.
ALLLLLLL of which is to say, yeah, this was inevitable....but it wasn't gonna happen without Jimmy Iovine, which neither Tim Cook nor Jimmy Iovine will likely put that bluntly...but they've certainly both danced around saying it, and it's easily demonstrably the case.
I'm just looking forward to shows getting released before they're ready, and fans jumping up and down and saying, "But it's supposed to be like that and besides Apple always releases things before they're ready and they just keep getting better until they're eventually just like they should have been before they released it in the first place and JUST YOU WAIT."
Another post from Tim that keeps you totally engrossed until the end. Bravo.
Co-owner at Pollen Studio
Creating original content is certainly a departure in SOP for Apple, but it's a move they need to make in order to compete with Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, Sony, Microsoft, Roku, etc.,.
On a related note, Hulu announced a new ad-free tier for $12/month.