As soon as the new streaming service Apple has in the works finally launches, it will offer users content from some third-party cable networks like CBS and Starz and eventually a smorgasbord of Apple-commissioned TV series from big-name actors and producers. That much we already knew ahead of Apple’s planned March 25 press event at which the iPhone maker will finally roll out its plans for the service.
And now we also definitely know one thing the new service won’t have: participation from Netflix.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings himself confirmed as much on Monday, telling reporters at a press conference that “We want to have people watch our content on our service” and “We’ve chosen not to integrate into (Apple’s) service.”
It’s not at all an unexpected move, but it does underscore how much of a scramble there’s increasingly going to be to retain and keep customers as the streaming landscape gets even more fragmented with Apple’s — and later this year, Disney’s — entry into the space. Not to mention others, like the streaming service coming from WarnerMedia.
Hastings’ top lieutenant Ted Sarandos was less measured than his boss in comments of his own on Monday about what Apple is planning. Per a Deadline report, Sarandos noted that “We’ve been competing with 500 channels of cable and penetrated nearly every household in the world for a long time,” adding about the new streaming arrivals that “it’s the same stable of competitors, just very late to the game.”
Netflix’s chief executive was arguably more diplomatic, sticking to the usual line he’s offered on earnings calls and in public comments about competition in the streaming video market tending to serve as a rising tide lifts all boats phenomenon. In other words, that it makes everyone “better.” “We’ve always had massive competitors,” Hastings told reporters Monday, as noted in a Bloomberg report. “We’ve been competing with Amazon in video streaming. These are amazing, large, well-funded companies with very significant efforts. But you do your best job when you have great competitors.”
The timing of these comments is certainly interesting, given that Apple’s media event is a week from today. And while details have been sparse about Apple’s plans — how the service will work, for example — we do know that Apple has already begun assembling a team that will help put the company’s new shows into contention for Oscars and Emmys, as we told you late last week.
Presumably, we’ll know more on Monday about everything from how the content from Apple’s Netflix rival will be accessed to a complete rundown of when its first original shows will launch.