Can Apple TV + dominate Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Netflix and others with its aggressive pricing?

Can Apple TV + dominate Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Netflix and others with its aggressive pricing?

  • Apple TV+ is set to debut on 1 November
  • Apple TV+ may steal the show with its aggressive pricing of Rs 99 per month

Apple might have joined the race late, but its entry into internet video streaming segment will for sure cause ripples and tremble the status quo.

Last week, the tech giant unveiled Apple TV+, its over-the-top (OTT) video service that will be accessible on Apple devices, a group of smart TVs and third-party streaming services. Apple TV+ will debut on 1 November. The step pits Apple against Netflix, the global force in OTTs, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, Roku and many solid local players.

A few months before, The Walt Disney Co, one of the biggest content studios and production houses in the world, said it was getting into OTT with Disney+, that will also launch in November. India already has more than 30 OTTs fighting aggressively for customer's wallet-share and screen-time, and Apple's success in the region would depend on it turns the levers of pricing, local content and distribution.

At the Cupertino launch event, Apple outdid the audience with its pricing strategy. In India, the OTT service is priced at Rs 99 per month. Which makes it one of the cheapest in India and marks a massive departure from the enthusiastic pricing Apple is known for.

Competitors Pricing List

Netflix - Rs 499 per month

Hotstar - Rs 299 per month

Amazon Prime Video - Rs 129 per month

Zee5 & SonyLiv - Plans starts at Rs 99 a month

Apple is also offering perks like a seven-day free trial on Apple devices and one-year free subscription with new Apple devices. There is a big emphasis on the distribution as well. Apple is well aware that it has limited devices in the market, far lower than Android smartphones or tablets, which may restrain the reach of the video platform. For this, the Cupertino based firm is making Apple TV+ available on smart TVs from LG, Sony and Samsung, on Amazon Fire TV, and Roku, a streaming devices company. The audience can also watch on Apple TV+ website. This marks another retreat as Apple has traditionally hooked users to a closed ecosystem, offering little inter-operability in devices, services or app store.

Content is the biggest difference-maker and attracting factor in Internet video streaming. In this area, Apple TV+ will launch with nine original shows, which includes The Morning Show that features Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, Jason Momoa-starring drama See and a play by Oprah Winfrey. There isn't any confirmation from Apple about when Apple TV+ will have local programming. Meanwhile, Indian OTTs have established a strong foothold in the content market.

Hotstar has shows from all Star channels; ZEE5 has programming from Zee Network, Netflix have chart-topping unique shows like Sacred Games and Lust Stories that attracted the audience.

According to the Boston Consulting Group report, India's OTT industry will grow from $500 million in 2018 to $5 billion by 2023. Apple's iPhones global sales were down by 12 per cent, at $26 billion in the June quarter, while services revenue grew by 17 per cent to $11.5 billion.

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