We seem to be entering a new era of online video content consumption. Last week, Apple announced an overhaul to its Apple TV app. The service will be available across multiple platforms, not just Apple devices, and users will be able to integrate multiple services (or as Apple refers to them as “channels”) into this single app. Apple TV will become a one-stop shop for all of the content services users subscribe to (except for a few holdouts like Netflix). In addition, it will have some exclusive content of its own from the likes of Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Anniston, Steve Carrell and others.
Own the Pipes, Some of the Content
The average U.S. consumer subscribes to three streaming services, and nearly half of consumers are actually frustrated with how many subscription services are available and required to watch what they want.
Apple’s focus is to alleviate some of that frustration by combining all of the services under one umbrella—one integrated interface bringing disparate service’s content under one roof. It’s an approach Roku has adopted with its Roku Channels offering and Amazon has as well under Amazon channels. Each of these services is working to offer some of the content (e.g., Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Originals, etc.), but the real prize is owning the pipes in which all other content is accessed.
Users have raised their hands. They’ve said they have enough content, and now platforms are in a race to be pipes that simplify an oversubscribed video lifestyle. Each platform wants to be the portal through which all other video content is consumed, and no matter which comes out on top, it raises questions around how brands will be able to reach audiences isolated to video portals.
This Will Change Advertising
Traditional TV providers, which were made to cater to businesses as much as (if not more than) viewers are seeing a decline. So as video portals like Apple TV become more norm than novelty, it’s going to be interesting to see how brands respond. Digital video doesn’t typically carry the inventory linear broadcast TV does, which means brands may need to be creative on how they play in high-end video moving forward. Sure, there’s room for advertising but the bigger opportunities may lie in things like integrations.
It was one thing when linear TV was competing with ad-free video streaming providers like Netflix and HBO Now/Go. Now, every channel has an app with on-demand content and more limited ad inventory.
As users sequester themselves away into walled garden video portals, how will video advertising hungry brands pivot to reach them? That’s a question that will only grow more important as popularity for these “portals” rises and linear broadcast television continues its decline.