CES 2019: Samsung Announces App Deal With Apple iTunes

LAS VEGAS – Samsung Electronics on Jan. 6 announced it will offer iTunes movies and TV shows, and provide Apple AirPlay 2 support, on 2019 Samsung Smart TV models beginning this spring.

Support on 2018 Samsung Smart TVs will be made available via firmware update.

In what is believed to be an industry first, a new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app will debut only on Samsung Smart TVs in more than 100 countries. AirPlay 2 support will be available on Samsung Smart TVs in 190 countries worldwide.

Speaking at the Samsung “First Look CES” preview event at the Aria Resort & Casino, Andrew Sivori, a VP of TV product marketing at Samsung Electronics America, told members of the press, “For the first time, users in more than 100 countries will be able to access the iTunes Movies and TV Shows app…. Users will be able to access their iTunes Movies and TV Shows purchases as well as buy or watch something new from the iTunes store, plus the app will work seamlessly with Samsung TV services like Universal Guide, the new Bixby and Search.” (Bixby is Samsung’s answer to Google Home or Amazon Alexa.)

Jonghee Han, president of the Visual Display Business at Samsung, told Media Play News the Apple deal is significant because it makes it easier for users to access content. “The presentation is very important,” he said.

With AirPlay 2 support, Samsung customers will be able to effortlessly play videos, photos, music, podcasts and more from Apple devices directly to Samsung Smart TVs, including QLED 4K and 8K TVs, The Frame and Serif lifestyle TVs, as well as other Samsung UHD and HD models.

“We pride ourselves on working with top industry leaders to deliver the widest range of content services to our Smart TV platform,” said Won-Jin Lee, EVP of the Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. “Bringing more content, value and open platform functionality to Samsung TV owners and Apple customers through iTunes and AirPlay is ideal for everyone.”

“We look forward to bringing the iTunes and AirPlay 2 experience to even more customers around the world through Samsung Smart TVs, so iPhone, iPad and Mac users have yet another way to enjoy all their favorite content on the biggest screen in their home,” said Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet Software and Services at Apple.

Also at the First Look preview event, Samsung introduced its latest innovations in modular Micro LED display technology. The new Micro LED technology designs featured at the event included a new 75-inch display, a 219-inch The Wall (significantly bigger than the 146-inch Wall at last year’s CES) as well as other various new sizes, shapes and configurations for a next-generation modular Micro LED display – a 2019 CES Best of Innovation Award winner.

“What is the next top screen?” asked Han at the event. “Consumers should have the freedom to choose their desired shape and size.”

Featuring self-emissive technology and modular capabilities, Samsung’s Micro LED displays deliver improved picture quality, versatility and design. These TV displays are made up of individual modules of self-emissive Micro LEDs, featuring millions of inorganic red, green and blue microscopic LED chips that emit their own light to produce brilliant colors on screen – “delivering unmatched picture quality that surpasses any display technology currently available on the market,” Samsung said in a news release.

The new technology promises longer lifespan, less power use and the ability to adapt to greater resolution, such as 8K or 10K, according to Samsung. Even when adding more modules, Samsung Micro LED displays can scale to increase the resolution — all while keeping the pixel density constant. Additionally, Micro LED can support everything from the standard 16:9 content, to 21:9 widescreen films, to unconventional aspect ratios like 32:9, or even 1:1 – without having to make any compromises in its picture quality.

Also, because Micro LED displays are bezel-free, there are no borders between modules – even when you add more.

 

Han with the Micro LED 75-inch display.

Morgan Stanley Says Apple SVOD Service Can Rival Netflix — in Seven Years

Netflix shares took a slight hit after Morgan Stanley Sept. 5 issued a bullish note on Apple’s slowly evolving subscription streaming video service.

In the report — Apple, Inc.: The Emerging Power of Apple Services, Part 3: Video a New Growth Driver in 2019– Morgan Stanley analysts believe Apple’s longstanding success with iTunes and the music industry, Hollywood and its ability to capture consumer demand through the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch portends great promise in over-the-top video distribution.

“We forecast that an Apple Video streaming service with high-quality but limited breadth could be priced at the low end vs. competitors, or $7.99/month, and reach over 50 million paid subscribers by 2025, compared to 124 million at Netflix subs and Apple’s 650 million-unit iPhone installed base,” wrote the analysts.

Indeed, the note suggests Apple’s SVOD service could grow from a $500 million business in 2019 to $4.4 billion operation by 2025.

Lofty projections considering the late Steve Jobs often considered Apple TV and streaming a video a hobby and not a platform Apple could invest heavily in.

That’s changed as CEO Tim Cook and Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet software and services, have upped Apple’s video profile by hiring a string of entertainment executives, producers and directors to jumpstart original programming.

The biggest announcement occurred last November about an untitled morning show drama starring and executive produced by Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.

Other projects include a sketch comedy with Kristen Wiig; renewed seasons of “Carpool Karaoke,” a basketball drama with Golden State Warriors Kevin Durant serving as both the subject and producer; and unnamed series from directors M. Night Shyamalan, J.J. Abrams and Oprah Winfrey, among others.

Morgan Stanley believes the Apple SVOD service could get a boost when bundled with the Apple Music and Texture news and magazine subscription services. A strategy Hulu has employed partnering with Spotify.

The note said such a bundling would diversify content options for consumers, diminish the need for immediate original content hits, increase perceived consumer value and simplify billing, among other features.

“If we incorporate the assumptions from our Apple Media bundle scenario while keeping all other Apple Services forecasts unchanged, then we’d expect Apple Services revenue to grow at a 21% through 2025, ultimately reaching $143 billion by 2025, up from current forecasts of a 19% revenue growth and $124 billion in revenue by 2025.”

Apple Services generated $95 billion in revenue in the most recent fiscal period.

“We believe that Apple Video will become a reality sooner than investors think, and use this report as a way to frame the two most likely methods for video content distribution and potential impact video could have on Apple’s Services business,” wrote the analysts.

Apple: ‘We Don’t Know Anything’ About Making TV Shows

Apple knows the appeal of must-have consumer electronics better than anyone. Its brand singularly created markets for mobile phones, tablets, computers, audio speakers and now watches.

Yet, as tech rivals Google and Facebook jump into the video content business hoping to bridge the considerable gap to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and even Hulu, Apple has taken baby steps.

While the late Steve Jobs infamously considered Apple TV a “little hobby,” current CEO Tim Cook has been equally slow to jump on the bandwagon – until now. Indeed, Apple considers itself anything but expert on the machinations of Hollywood.

“We don’t know anything about making television,” Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet software and services, told The New York Times at the recent South by Southwest media confab in Austin, Tex.

Despite sitting on reported fiscal largess exceeding $250 billion, Apple’s forays into original programing are all but non-existent – perhaps due to cautionary missteps taken by Microsoft and Yahoo, among others.

Apple is expert at creating apps, but recent original 10-episode reality show, “Planet of the Apps,” where contestants attempted turn their app ideas into careers, was largely unremarkable.

“They know music and they know apps, and I’m sure they’ll begin to explore other genres,” Jake Wayne, a participant on the show, told Mashable.com. “For now, they’re doing what they know best.”

Maybe, but Apple is leaving its tech comfort zone and creating a sizeable beachhead in Hollywood. It is building a 128,000-square foot media complex on the former Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer grounds in Culver City, Calif.

Last summer, Cue hired Sony Pictures Television executives Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg – 15-year veterans behind programs such as “Breaking Bad,” (AMC Networks) spinoff “Better Call Saul,” (Netflix) “The Crown,” (Netflix) “Damages,” “The Blacklist,” “Sneaky Pete” (Amazon) and “Rescue Me,” among others.

“We have exciting plans in store for customers and can’t wait for [Erlicht and Van Amburg] to bring their expertise to Apple,” Cue said at the time.

Indeed, the executives reportedly oversee a staff of more than 40, charged with operating original content divisions around drama, children, South America and European programing.

Production deals with Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steven Spielberg, Damien Chazelle, M. Night Shyamalan, Kristen Wiig and Octavia Spencer highlight more than 12 original programs greenlighted for completion.

“We’re all in,” Cue said. “We’re completely all in.”