Apple’s new TV entertainment subscription service will either delight or infuriate its customers. Let’s go for delight.
I’m calling it Apple Entertainment Television (AET) for lack of a better name. It’ll be nice to have a handle until Apple officially names it.
The notion I want to explore is how Apple approaches this service in light of Apple Music. Apple Music has been very successful, although the last time I looked, Apple’s 40 million subscribers lag behind Spotify’s 71 million.
With TV subscription services, however, there is lots more competition. And so, I’m eager to see how Apple thinks it can compete against what might be considered a glut of subscription services: Acorn, Amazon Prime, BritBox, CBS All Access, DirecTV Now, Disney, Hulu, HBO, Netflix, Sling, YouTube—to name a few. One course of action might be to mimic Amazon Prime.
Copy and Haste
After all, if Amazon Prime can successfully bundle two-day delivery, TV & movies, (and Prime originals), music, and more, why shouldn’t Apple bundle music, magazines and AET?
One concern is that Amazon started with free two-day shipping and later extended the subscription price to cover new services. Customers felt as if their Amazon Prime subscription were getting more and more valuable over time. If Apple launches a fixed-price bundle out of the gate, many could feel strong-armed into purchasing something unwanted. They might feel that way because they already have some of the other popular services, an they’ll need a really good justification for forking out more money for a new, untested bundle, some of which might be duplicated.
An effective way to combat that psychology is to give customers choice out of the gate. Apple Music customers could pay incrementally more. After all, they’re already in the mood to spend. A separate plan could be for AET only. Finally, make the complete bundle look like a great cost saving compared to the other, individual plans.
Another important element will be how confident (and how successful ) Apple will be in bringing AET to as many platforms as possible. That’ll require some engineerings skill combined with behind-the-scenes politics and business deals. Finesse is called for.
Apple will want to enhance its services business, but it’ll be interesting to see how the company, with modesty and charm, seeks to delight us. When you’re the new kid on the block, strong-arm bundling and platform provincialism just gives customers another reason to both complain and stay with what they know.