Back when Apple made the announcement they were getting into the content business to make movies, episodic TV and more, the market wasn’t particularly surprised, I’d been waiting since 2000 for this news, and I thought it came a little late.
Apple’s $1-2 billion spend on content this year is expected to reach $4 billion over the next few years, and they’re doing deals with big names & brands, (Oprah, Sesame Street, Kevin Durant, Reese Witherspoon, Lance Eskridge of Ozarks) big executives and paying talent ask prices, making them the favored go-to platform. For now.
And of course, in the end – Apple can promote like nobody’s business, use their own infrastructure of iPhones and iTunes to push their content over and above anyone else’s content.
The rush to more content is on, with AT&T now owning HBO, they’re poised to spend on content,”I fully expect we’re going to be investing heavier in content development at HBO,” John Stankey, the incoming head of AT&T’s entertainment division, said in an interview with Bloomberg.
HBO has an over-the-top streaming service and 5 million subscribers nationally, and over 88 million households internationally, but most of those households aren’t paying a premium for HBO like they do for Netflix, HBO is part of a bundle. Can HBO outspend and compete with Netflix?
Netflix added nearly 24 million subscribers in 2017 and they’re planning to spend about $8 billion on content this year. And it’s spending even more on a cash basis, as it produces more content in-house instead of licensing. However – what are the aftermarkets for Netflix? None, really. What cable network or broadcasting channel will show Netflix content, when it will exist in perpetuity on Netflix? It seems unlikely. so their sole revenue stream is all in-house, requiring more and more subscribers globally.
The battle of production pocketbooks versus the capacity of viewers eyeballs and their appetite for content (quality another issue) is being played out and we’ll see who wins!