Apple Expected to Bow Video Streaming Platform March 25

Apple is expected to announce its much-anticipated Apple TV video streaming platform at a special “Apple Event” March 25 at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, Calif.

The tech giant March 11 sent out “It’s Show Time” media invites without elaborating further details about the contents of the presentation. Media reports suggest that while Apple may announce the streaming service, it may not be functional until later this year.

Apple, which is reportedly spending $2 billion on original content for the rebooted Apple TV app, has been slow to jump on the over-the-top video bandwagon ever since co-founder Steve Jobs infamously characterized online video a hobby.

Now with entertainment management hired, and content deals involving Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Bill Murray, Sofia Coppola, Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) among others, in production, Apple TV reportedly will also offer third-party OTT video subscriptions – notably HBO, CBS All Access, Showtime and Starz — similarly to Amazon Channels.

Separately, Apple and Roku reportedly are finalizing details on an agreement that will enable Roku users to stream content, including video and photos, to and from an iPhone, iPad or Mac to a connected TV through the AirPlay 2 integration on the Roku device.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report: ‘Friends’ Most-Binged TV Series in 2018

There’s a reason Netflix reportedly spent $100 million securing additional rights through 2019 to 14-year-old episodes of former NBC sitcom, “Friends.”

People continue to binge-watch (four or more episodes of a show watched successively) episodes of the series that made cast members Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc and Courtney Cox household names, according to new data from TV Time.

How popular is “Friends”? TV Time said nearly 1.3 million people track the series through its app.

Other top series (in order) include “Grey’s Anatomy,” Netflix originals “13 Reasons Why” and “Money Heist,” The CW’s “Riverdale,” Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “The 100” (CW), “Orange is the New Black” (Netflix), “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS) and “Pretty Little Liars” (Freeform).

Report: Apple Launching Online TV Service Worldwide

Apple reportedly is set to launch an online TV service in more than 100 countries the first half of 2019. The service would include original programming, in addition to third-party apps similar to Amazon Channels in the United States, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, according to TheInformation.com, which cited sources familiar with the situation.

The service would appear to target SVOD giants Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, which currently operate in 190 and 200 countries, respectively.

Steve Carell

While an innovator in consumer electronics, computers and digital entertainment distribution, Apple has moved slowly in over-the-top video. The Apple TV streaming device lags behind market leader Roku in market penetration, according to Parks Associates.

Despite a war chest exceeding $200 billion in cash, Apple has allocated just $1 billion on original content spending in 2018 – an amount less than what Hulu is spending, in addition to market behemoths Netflix ($12 billion) and Amazon ($5 billion).

Apple Oct. 23 announced that Steve Carell (“The Office,” The 40-Year-Old Virgin) is joining Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston’s unnamed morning TV series. The show marks Carell’s first episodic content work in five years.

“It makes sense for Apple to position its subscription service as a way to make television viewing easier for customers, rather than try to go head-to-head with Amazon and Netflix on original programming,” Tim Nollen, analyst at Macquarie, told the website. “Having the ability to make life easier for consumers in this fragmented, over-the-top marketplace makes sense.”

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Netflix Announces New Toni Collette Series, Movie Reuniting Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston

Netflix announced a new series starring Toni Collette and a new movie reuniting Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston.

Toni Collette, Merritt Wever and Kaitlyn Dever have been cast in “Unbelievable,” a series based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning article by The Marshall Project and ProPublica, “An Unbelievable Story of Rape.” Collette and Wever will play detectives whose lives become intertwined in their mutual pursuit of a possible serial rapist.

Sandler and Aniston, who teamed in Just Go With It, will reunite in Murder Mystery, due in 2019. It follows a NYC cop (Sandler) who finally takes his wife (Aniston) on a long promised European trip. A chance meeting on the flight with a mysterious man (Luke Evans) gets them invited to an intimate family gathering on the Super Yacht of elderly billionaire Malcolm Quince. When Quince is murdered, they become the prime suspects.

Directed by Kyle Newacheck, the film also stars Gemma Arterton (Their Finest, The Girl With All The Gifts), Luis Gerardo Mendez (Club de Cuervos, Nosotros Los Nobles, Time Share), Shioli Kutsuna (Deadpool 2), David Walliams (Little Britain), Adeel Akhtar (The Big Sick, Murdered By My Father, Four Lions), John Kani (Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, The Lion King), Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (The Meg, True Detective, The BFG), Dany Boon (R.A.I.D. Special Unit, Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis) and Terence Stamp (Miss Peregrine’s, The Limey, A Song For Marion).