Apple Replacing iTunes with Three New Apps

After 18 years, Apple iTunes is history.

As expected, Apple June 3 previewed macOS Catalina, a new desktop operating system that replaces iTunes with three entertainment apps — Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and the Apple TV app.

The three apps — unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Confab in San Jose, Calif., — are designed to simplify and improve the way Mac users discover and enjoy their favorite music, TV shows, movies and podcasts.

The new Apple Music app helps users discover new music with over 50 million songs, playlists and music videos. And users will have access to their entire music library, whether they downloaded the songs, purchased them or ripped them from a CD. For those who like to own their music, the iTunes Music Store is just a click away.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The new Apple TV app brings together different ways to find and watch movies and TV shows into one app.

The app features Apple TV channels, personalized recommendations and over 100,000 iTunes movies and TV shows to browse, buy or rent — so users can enjoy 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos-supported movies.

The “Watch Now” section features “Up Next,” where viewers can keep track of what they are currently watching and resume on any screen. This fall, Apple TV+, Apple’s original video subscription service, will be available in the Apple TV app.

Separate “Sidecar” software enables users to extend their Mac desktop by using their iPad as a second display or as a high-precision input device across creative Mac apps. New security features keep users better protected and “voice control” software lets users control their Mac entirely with their voice.

“With macOS Catalina, we’re bringing fresh new apps to the Mac, starting with new standalone versions of Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and the Apple TV app,” Craig Federighi, SVP of software engineering at Apple, said in a statement. “Users will appreciate how they can expand their workspace with Sidecar, enabling new ways of interacting with Mac apps using iPad and Apple Pencil. And with new developer technologies, users will see more great third-party apps arrive on the Mac this fall.”

Apple Unveils New Apple TV 4K Operating System

Apple June 3 at the developers confab in San Jose, Calif., previewed tvOS 13, the media giant’s new operating for TV shows, movies, music, photos, games and apps via Apple TV 4K inside the home.

With tvOS 13, Apple TV 4K gains a new home screen; multi-user support for customers to access their own TV shows, movies, music and recommendations; support for Apple Arcade; expanded game controller support; and new 4K HDR screen savers filmed under the sea.

tvOS 13 features the all-new Apple TV app, which brings together different ways to find and watch TV shows and movies into one app. The app offers Apple TV channels, personalized recommendations and over 100,000 iTunes movies and TV shows, including the largest collection of 4K HDR titles to browse, buy or rent.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

As previously reported, Apple TV+, Apple’s original video subscription service, will be available in the Apple TV app. The Apple TV app is also available on other Apple devices and select third-party platforms.

“tvOS powers the Apple TV 4K experience and continues to set the standard for home entertainment,” Greg Joswiak, VP of product marketing, said in a statement. “With more personalized features to enjoy your favorite TV shows, movies, photos and music, expanded gaming support and stunning new screen savers, tvOS 13 delivers the most complete entertainment experience to everyone in the home.”

Features include a new home screen designed for full-screen video previews so users can view new TV shows, movies, music and games.

The new Apple TV control center simplifies switching users so everyone gets their own personalized entertainment experience. Users see their unique Up Next list and receive TV and movie recommendations based on their tastes. The control center also provides users with quick access to key Apple TV features, including system sleep and audio routing.

Apple Music on tvOS 13 takes advantage of multi-user support, so everyone at home can easily play their personalized playlists and recommendations. In the control center, users can quickly access the song that is currently playing. In addition, users can now follow along to onscreen lyrics timed in sync with their favorite songs.

Apple Arcade is coming to Apple TV 4K. With a single subscription, a family of six will have unlimited access to over 100 new and exclusive games, all with no ads or additional purchases, and many will offer support for game controllers. Customers will be able to play Apple Arcade games across iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and Apple TV.

tvOS 13 adds support for Xbox One S and PlayStation DualShock 4, making it even easier for gamers to take advantage of Apple Arcade and other games on the App Store.

 Apple is expanding its collection of 4K HDR screen savers available on Apple TV 4K by taking viewers under the sea.

Filmed in collaboration with the BBC Natural History Unit, the team behind “Blue Planet,” these immersive videos captured from the depths of oceans around the world showcase mesmerizing creatures and scenes.

 

‘Apple Channels’ Platform Launches Offering Access to Third-Party Streaming Services

Apple May 13 has formally launched “Apple Channels,” an app enabling users access to third-party subscription streaming services such as HBO Now, Showtime OTT and Lionsgate-owned Starz, among others.

The platform mimics Amazon Prime Channels, which bowed in 2015 offering Prime members direct access to HBO Now, Showtime, CBS All Access, Shudder, Sundance Now, Dove Channel, Acorn TV, Urban Movie Channel, among other others.

Amazon Channels, which maintains control over third-party OTT usage among Prime members, in addition to revenue sharing deals, has been credited by WarnerMedia, LIonsgate and CBS for driving subscriber growth for their respective brands.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Apple Channels reportedly is getting from 15% to 30% of third-party revenue from subscribers registering through The App Store on Apple devices.

In addition, Apple Channels users can only stream third-party content through its app on Apple devices; not on other platforms such as Roku, Google Chromecast or PlayStation Vue, among others.

Current third-party SVOD subs can access the platforms through Apple Channels. The platform is not Apple TV+, the new SVOD platform launching later this year.

Ex-Lionsgate Digital Marketing EVP Danielle DePalma Joins Apple TV+

Danielle DePalma has reportedly joined Apple TV+ to spearhead the pending over-the-top video platform’s marketing team in Culver City, Calif.

Danielle DePalma

DePalma, who left Lionsgate in January, had been EVP, worldwide digital marketing & research at the Santa Monica-based studio for about 10 years.

At Lionsgate, DePalma spearheaded digital marketing efforts for the studio’s successful The Hunger Games franchise and Kick-Ass movies.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play Daily Newsletter!

DePalma reports to Chris Van Amburg, head of video marketing at Apple.

Amazon, Google Bowing Apps on Competing Streaming Media Devices

In a first, Amazon and Google April 18 announced the two companies will launch the YouTube app on Amazon Fire TV devices and Fire TV-enabled smart TVs, as well as the Prime Video app to Chromecast and separately-enabled devices.

Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Apple TV and Roku dominate the streaming media device market.

Google Chromecast

Prime Video will also be available across Android TV device partners, and the YouTube TV and YouTube Kids apps will also come to Fire TV later this year. Google owns Android TV.

The YouTube app will be the easiest way for users to watch YouTube content on Fire TV. Users will be able to sign in to their existing YouTube account, access their full library of content, and play videos in 4K HDR on supported devices. In addition, standalone YouTube TV and YouTube Kids apps will also launch later this year on Fire TV devices and Fire TV Edition smart TVs where available.

Subscribe HERE to FREE Media Play Daily Newsletter!

Amazon Fire TV Stick

“Bringing our flagship YouTube experience to Amazon Fire TV gives our users even more ways to watch the videos and creators they love,” Heather Rivera, global head of product partnerships at YouTube, said in a statement.

Chromecast, along with Android TV users, will have access to the Prime Video catalog, including the latest seasons of Amazon Originals “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Hanna,” “Homecoming,” “Bosch,” “Catastrophe” and “The Grand Tour,” along with Amazon Original movies such as Donald Glover’s Guava Island, and Academy Award-nominated films The Big Sick and Cold War. 

With Prime Video users can also rent or purchase titles or choose from more than 150 Prime Video Channels, including Showtime, HBO, CBS All-Access, Cinemax and Lionsgate-owned Starz.

“Whether watching the latest season of ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,’ catching teams go head-to-head on Thursday Night Football or renting a new-release movie, customers will have even more ways to stream what they want, whenever they want, no matter where they are,” said Andrew Bennett, head of worldwide business development for Prime Video.

DTR: Netflix’s North American Market Share to Fall by 2024

Despite adding 10 million subscribers in the first quarter (ended March 31), and 31 million subs in 2018, Netflix’s market share in North America is projected to decline from 37% to 25% by 2024, according to new data from Digital TV Research.

The London-based research firm based the decline in part on pending OTT services launches from Disney, Apple, WarnerMedia and Comcast. The report contends the number of SVOD subscriptions (movies, linear channels and TV episodes) — excluding platforms such as sports services — in North America increasing by 110 million to 270 million from 160 million in 2018.

The report said the data represents gross subscriptions as many households include more than one SVOD platform.

Subscribe HERE to FREE Media Play Daily Newsletter!

Digital TV Research forecasts that 77.8% of TV households (94 million) will subscribe to at least one SVOD platform by 2024. The average SVOD household will pay for nearly three (2.89) SVOD subscriptions.

This compares to 70% of TV households (84 million) TV households subscribing to at least one SVOD platform by end-2018. The average SVOD subscriber paid for nearly two (1.91) SVOD platforms at end-2018.

“Several high profile SVOD launches are imminent,” Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said in a statement. “We expect that Disney+ will have 25 million U.S. subscribers by 2024. Apple TV+’s growth will be more modest at 8 million.”

Report: Global SVOD Revenue to Increase 25% to $36 Billion This Year

A new report from Futuresource Consulting found that mainstream adoption of subscription streaming video continues to grow worldwide — reaching 60% of households in North America, 26% in Western Europe, 21% in Asia-Pacific and 19% in LATAM.

“SVOD has come of age, with consumer spend exceeding $29 billion last year, up 38% on 2017,” principal analyst David Sidebottom said in a statement.

The analyst cited improving broadband quality, smart TV penetration, availability of services and perceived consumer value.

Netflix and Amazon Prime Video accounted for 33% of all subscriptions globally in 2018 — but almost 66% total consumer spending on SVOD.

Disney’s acquisition of Fox, along with the completion of AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner and pending OTT platform bow from WarnerMedia will further shape the SVOD landscape in the U.S. and, in the longer term, worldwide, according to London-based Futuresource.

Subscribe HERE to FREE Media Play Daily Newsletter!

“Consumers are seeking a combination of functionality, high-quality original content and low price,” says Sidebottom. “Netflix has demonstrated continued growth in both its primary markets of the U.S. and U.K., as well as France and Germany. Plus, Netflix has many options for turning profit, each requiring a local market-specific strategy, based on maturity of infrastructure, device usage, access to local content, GDP and market share.”

Indeed, the report contends competitors to Netflix continue to underperform, with complementary services standing better odds of success.

Futuresource said exclusive, relevant and local content, particularly outside the U.S., is requisite to capturing and holding audience appeal.

While the uptake of multiple OTT services will continue to drive overall subscription numbers, the market will be limited to a small number of clearly differentiated and complementary services. This makes a carefully defined market and content strategy even more crucial, according to the report.

“Consumers face an increasingly confusing video landscape,” Sidebottom said.

He said Amazon Channels and pending Apple TV+ are both well-placed to succeed in the increasingly fragmented world of aggregation, but both currently lack “ubiquity of content” internationally.

“This new breed of ‘super aggregators’ will become an important component in the battle for the living room TV, though, in many instances, they have yet to fully realize the three consumer requirements, including quality, original content and price,” Sidebottom said.

It’s a Netflix World. Hollywood is Just Living in It

Netflix added almost 10 million new subscribers in its most-recent fiscal period, nearly topping 150 million subscribers globally. The SVOD pioneer added 31 million subs in 2018.

The sub growth ended — for  the moment — naysayer illusions the SVOD giant had become a cash cow — economic shorthand for a business generating plenty of cash but waning growth potential.

More importantly, critics contend Netflix is beholden to Hollywood studios for content, the same studios now readying their own rival SVOD platforms to compete with Netflix.

With Disney, WarnerMedia and NBC Universal reportedly set to pull back content license agreements with Netflix by 2020 — if not sooner — scuttlebutt suggests the streamer has become vulnerable and overly dependent upon internal content production.

“The modern media company must develop extensive direct-to-consumer relationships,” Randall Stephenson, CEO of WarnerMedia parent AT&T, said on the telecom’s last fiscal call. “We think pure wholesale business models for media companies will be really tough to sustain over time.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play Daily Newsletter!

Indeed, Disney, which is majority owner of Hulu and online TV service, Hulu with Live TV, will launch proprietary SVOD service Disney+ in November — fortified by content (i.e. Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars) originally earmarked for Netflix.

To their credit, Netflix brass Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos welcome the competition, while dismissing the threat. As well they should.

“We’ve been competing with 500 channels of cable and penetrated nearly every household in the world for a long time,” Sarandos said in March. “[Now], it’s the same stable of competitors; just very late to the game.”

Disney+ isn’t set to launch for another seven months. WarnerMedia and Comcast aren’t bowing OTT platforms until 2020. An eternity in the rapidly evolving digital distribution ecosystem.

While Disney+ will be priced below Netflix’s basic subscription plan, its content offering will pale in size to Netflix. The platform is also not projected to be profitable until 2024.

That’s five years of sustained losses. Hulu may have 25 million subs, but it remains a fiscal black hole to its corporate owners (which includes Comcast) since launching in 2007.

Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer & International business segment, which operates Hulu and Disney+, lost nearly $800 million in 2018. Disney expects to have 60 million to 90 million subscribers by 2024, less than half of Netflix’s projected base.

To put it in perspective: Netflix’s sub growth (over 90 days) this year topped the combined subscriber count for CBS All Access and Showtime OTT at the end of 2018 — by 20%.

Netflix’s conservative estimate of 5 million new subs in Q2 equaled HBO Now’s total membership — three years after its 2015 launch.

In fact, many Netflix rivals have resorted to sacrificing revenue and user data in hopes of generating subscribers through Amazon Channels, the ecommerce giant’s platform marketing third-party OTT services to Prime members.

It’s an opportunistic business model Apple is replicating with Apple TV+.

“All of the media companies will have to become more consumer-oriented,” Jessica Reif Ehrlich, media analyst for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said in a research note last summer.

Translation: Media companies have to become more Netflix-oriented.

Report: 83% of U.S. Teens Own an iPhone

With Apple prepping to launch its rebooted Apple TV+ streaming platform, new data from Piper Jaffray found that 83% of teen survey respondents in the United States own an iPhone.

The survey of 8,000 teens skewed 54% male with an average age of 16.3 years. Notably, 86% of respondents said they would choose an iPhone for their next mobile phone – up from 75% in a spring 2016 survey.

Subscribe HERE for FREE Daily Newsletter!

The data suggests teens would continue use the iPhone as adults, with usage expanding to Apple Music, AirPods, Apple TV+ and Apple Watch.

Indeed, Piper found that 27% of teens own a smartwatch, with another 22% planning to buy one in the next six months. That’s up from 20% in the same survey a year ago.

Apple TV+ Streaming Service to Target 17 Million Users Down Under

Apple’s new streaming TV service, Apple TV+, could capture significant market share in Australia based on the tech companies current market penetrations, according to new data from research firm Roy Morgan.

The data suggests more than 17 million (83.4% of Australians over the age of 14) currently access streaming video services or own Apple-branded devices capable of accessing streaming video.

That market segment (14.7 million people) includes those who already use streaming video services such as Netflix (11 million), Stan, YouTube Premium, Amazon Prime Video and ABC iView, as well nearly 12 million Australians who own an iPhone, iPad, Mac running the iOS operating systems and use Apple services and apps capable of accessing the new Apple TV+ streaming TV service.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News daily newsletter!  

“Apple TV+ will be able to draw upon Apple’s immense war chest of over $240 billion (over $340 billion AUD) to create content which Apple announced as ‘cash on hand’ at the end of 2018,” Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, said in a statement.

Millennials represent the largest Apple TV+ market at over 4.6 million people. This is followed by more than 4 million Gen Z and just under 4 million Gen X consumers who use streaming services.

Nearly 60% of Australians who currently access a streaming video service or use an Apple device watch the news in an average week, far ahead of any other TV genre.

Reality TV is watched by 39% of Apple users, while just under a third of Apple users watch current affairs shows (32%), sports (31%), game shows (30%) or dramas (30%).

Just over a quarter of Apple users watch home/lifestyle/travel shows (28%), comedies (27%) or documentaries (27%) and just under a fifth watch talk shows (19%).