As we’ve suggested previously, Apple’s new video and news subscription services, which are expected to be announced on Monday, may be coming at the ideal time to attract new users. In a world of ever-increasing video subscription services, combined with continually shifting content availability between them, there’s arguably no better time than now for Apple to change the game by offering a single package that would combine multiple premium services, all under one subscription.
This is now being borne out by a new survey from Deloitte, reported in USA Today, which suggested that while the number of subscribers to streaming video services has dramatically increased in recent years, many consumers are also “beginning to feel weighed down” by the need to juggle multiple subscriptions, combined with an overwhelming number of options and the frustration of watching their favourite shows disappear on a regular basis.
According to Deloitte’s survey, many consumers now subscribe to multiple streaming services — three on average — and the overall number of streaming subscribers has increased to 69 percent, up from 55 percent last year. However, from a survey of 2,003 U.S. digital consumers, 47 percent of those surveyed revealed that they are experiencing “subscription fatigue” for a variety of reasons.
Well over half (of consumers) say they are frustrated when shows they like disappear or are no longer on a streaming service and that they have to have multiple subscriptions to get what they want. So there is a little bit of subscription fatigue.”Kevin Westcott, Deloitte’s Vice-Chairman for U.S. Telecom, Media, and Entertainment
The number of streaming services that are available has also markedly increased — this time last year, there were 200 streaming services available for consumers to choose from, but this year that number has jumped to 300. While many of these are niche services, it adds to the noise for consumers who are simply looking for the best place to watch their favourite shows. The number of big players is increasing as well, however, with Disney expected to launch its Disney+ service later this year, a new HBO and Time Warner service from AT&T, and even an NBCUniversal subscription service expected to land next year. Many of these services are also expected to offer their own content exclusively, further fragmenting the market and requiring users to consider even more separate subscriptions across multiple services just to ensure that they can watch all of their favourite content.
While some suggest that this overcrowded market should spell concern for Apple’s new video streaming service, this pretty much nails why one of Apple’s key strategies has been to provide a bundle of premium content providers. Apple already has services like Starz, CBS, Showtime, and HBO on board, and even Disney is open to the possibility of joining up with Apple to gain more subscribers for its own impending streaming service.
While Apple will of course also be offering its own unique original content — and a lot of it — the strategy of bundling in a collection of other streaming services has the potential to offer a “one-stop shop” that could bring a sigh of relief to consumers who are increasingly reaching a breaking point in trying to stay on top of where to find their favourite shows.
Much like Apple has already done with Apple Music — and is also planning to do with a new premium news and magazine service — the value of Apple’s new video service will be to convince customers that they can get everything they want to watch (and listen to, and read) by paying a single subscription fee, to a single company.
Apple also has the unique advantage of simplifying this even further for customers with its existing iTunes and App Store payment platform, so that Apple device users have the additional advantage of managing everything under a single umbrella. Anybody who owns any Apple device most likely already has a billing account with Apple via the iTunes Sore and App Store, and may even already be subscribing to in-app content and services like Apple Music. For those users, the process of signing up for Apple’s new video streaming service will be almost completely effortless.
This also has the potential to reduce “subscription fatigue” across services. While subscriptions to Apple’s music, video, and news services will likely remain independent — at least in the near term — the ability to view and manage them all in a single location will give consumers a greater feeling of control. That said, Deloitte predicts that the next phase will be for providers to develop “the next generation of the home entertainment platform” that would tie video streaming, music, and gaming all under a single umbrella. While the launch of Apple’s video and news services are imminent, rumours suggest the company is also working on a gaming subscription service. Apple is known for thinking long-term when it comes to projects like this, so it seems likely that an “Apple Home Entertainment” service is something the company has already been considering.