Why it matters: Apple's rumored original content strategy is a win-win no matter how you look at it. The only real hurdle it faces is putting out content that users will be compelled to watch. With such a massive budget and the participation of some major industry players, there's bound to be something that resonates with viewers.
Apple was reportedly among the first to explore the possibility of revolutionizing how we watch television but as we all know, that never materialized. Unable to convince broadcasting executives to upend their traditional business model, Apple sat on the sidelines as others reshaped the landscape.
Netflix, following a successful run with its DVD-by-mail business, pioneered original content creation by non-traditional studios and the on-demand concept. Sling TV and others led the way in over-the-top delivery of traditional cable TV and now, platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are leading the expedition into alternate form factors.
Apple, realizing that the future of television hasn’t yet been won or lost, regrouped. Last year, it was reported that the company was making a heavy push into original content creation with an initial budget of $1 billion. That effort is still materializing as several original TV shows and movies are said to be in the works but it’s how they’ll be presented to consumers that’s now making headlines.
According to a recent report from CNBC, Apple is planning to offer its original content for free to Apple device owners. It’ll reside alongside paid subscription channels from legacy media companies within the pre-installed “TV” application on devices like the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.
Sources say Apple aims to announce the revised TV app early next year.
Giving original content away for free to Apple device owners is a clever strategy as it could lure Android users to its ecosystem, resulting in additional device and app sales. It also sets the stage for Apple to make its original content available to Android users through a subscription fee, allowing Apple to monetize users from the other side of the tracks that aren’t willing to cross over.