One of the big news pieces this weekend was the story of Oprah Winfrey teaming up with Apple to create a new series of content for the latter’s upcoming video streaming service. Such a partnership will re-shape the streaming video landscape, but it might not be enough to dethrone the current king of streaming, Netflix.
What would possibly usurp the purveyor of shows like Daredevil and House of Cards, however, would be if Apple targets a lower price point - or if Apple pushes ahead with making the service free for Apple TV users.
While both scenarios sound rather far-fetched to us - Apple is the company that wanted you to pay a fee to add the proper meta tags to your music library, remember - some sources suggest said that’s exactly what the Cupertino, California-based company is planning.
In a report this weekend, Recode (opens in new tab) asked insiders and analysts what they predict for the still-very-much-unknown streaming service. One answer foretold the coming of a super bundle that would include Apple Music, the streaming service and Apple Care for one price, while another says that Apple’s new streaming service will cost less than Netflix - i.e. less than $11 per month.
The last prediction, and the one that seems the least like Apple, is that content on the upcoming streaming service would be made available for free by virtue of it being included in Apple's TV application that comes installed on every iOS and tvOS device.
Free content from Apple? Keep dreaming
The reasoning behind making content free, insiders say, is to make the hub more appealing to users, potentially increasing subscription numbers to third-party streaming services as a result.
The idea makes sense on paper: Offer free content that’s only viewable in Apple’s TV app so that more people go there on a daily basis and thus provide Apple a new platform to hawk subscription services and advertisements.
But, where it all falls apart is when you consider the company’s history of giving away first-party content … which is spotty at best.
What makes the most sense, to us at least, is a lower-cost model similar to where Netflix started years ago before it became a font of creative talent. A lower price point might bring loads of subscribers to the table and more consumers might feel a lower price point is more justified if Apple doesn’t have boat loads of new content ready to go up at launch.
Whatever the case may be, Apple is ready to go public with its plans just yet which means we'll just have to wait to find out how much Oprah's new show is going to set us back.