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Analyst: Apple’s streaming video service won’t ‘move the needle’ for a while

Published Feb 18th, 2019 10:05PM EST
Apple streaming video service
Image: Arcansel / Shutterstock

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At this point, there have been a slew of announcements related to the content Apple is commissioning and buying for its upcoming Netflix-like streaming service. The iPhone maker has lined up dozens of projects spanning both movies and original series that will see the company working with A-listers ranging from Oprah Winfrey to Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, to name just a few. It’s part of Apple’s company-wide shifting of emphasis away from a focus on hardware sales and more towards the revenue-generating services that users actually rely on the company’s hardware for.

Ahead of a celebrity-studded reveal of its new streamer during an event at the company’s Steve Jobs Theater on March 25, meanwhile, a Jeffries analyst is out with some key predictions today about the service’s economics as well as its potential. Analyst Tim O’Shea thinks Apple will set the price for its Netflix rival at $15 a month — and that it will face a handful of big challenges at the outset, such that O’Shea went on to tell Business Insider it means Apple’s new service probably won’t “really move the needle” for a long time.

Among the challenges, Apple’s content budget is nowhere near what Netflix spends from one year to the next. Meaning, Apple will be heavily reliant at least at first on the third-party content it buys. However, many Hollywood studios and networks won’t be happy with Apple’s 30% cut of the revenue, and Apple needs as many of those players as possible to make its streamer a success. “There are only a handful of players that make content that matter,” Business Insider quotes O’Shea as explaining. “If you lose one or two of them, it makes your service much less attractive.”

What’s more, according to BI:

O’Shea estimated that if Apple’s video service had 250 million subscribers in 2023, it still would account for only about 5% of the company’s revenue that year — and wouldn’t make up for its declining smartphone sales. By point of reference, after offering streaming video for 12 years, Netflix has 139 million subscribers. ‘It’s going take a long time for this type of service to really move the needle,’ O’Shea told Business Insider.

Regardless, we should get the first glimpse of what Apple is cooking up in this regard at the March 25 event, which is expected to include a showing of clips from some Apple streaming content ahead of an actual launch of the service later in the summer and possibly even the fall. All of which is to say, this is definitely an interesting time right now for companies in the streaming video space, as well as for customers who certainly don’t lack for plenty of bingeworthy content to consume.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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