There’s an incredible shift happening in television—a shift that includes over-the-top delivery, show proliferation and new monetization strategies. But there’s a good chance that tomorrow, our expectations around television will shift…dramatically…again.
So far, Apple TV is a popular media streamer, especially among people who are devoted to the Apple ecosystem, including iTunes. In 2014, Apple TV was doing alright, with 17% market share, but competitors, including Roku and Amazon, have been controlling the market. Apple has to do something to establish its dominance.
Will the App Store Finally Come to Apple TV?
The marketplace is abuzz with speculation about what that something will be. Imagine a scenario where Apple announces an App Store and Siri support for Apple TV. That might happen, or it might not. If it did, how would that simple move change the world of television?
For starters, having the App Store on Apple TV would open an entirely new way to marry content and engagement. Apple’s passionate developer community would have a whole new engagement landscape to explore, and brands would have fertile new marketing ground to till. Imagine television experience catching up with the mobile experience—brand engagement beyond video content, across platforms and screens, and through apps with a high level of interaction.
With apps made for Apple TV, brands would be able to gain new insight into television consumption. Imagine media streamers that gather the same kind of insights that mobile platforms offer—with analytics to match. Tailored, focused television marketing based on demographics and individual interests could become a reality.
With Apple TV apps, media producers would also have new ways to monetize content. For example, shows could be bundled with all sorts of rich content, including “Behind the Scenes” interviews, documentaries, and microgames. They could create TV apps as show companions, with special features like director commentary for television shows, not just movies. Those special features could be monetized and used as a selling point. We know that the new Apple TV will be based on the same processor used in the iPhone 6, leading commenters to suggest that performance ought to be similar.
Even if there were no TV companion apps on the App Store on Apple TV, there would be distractions from television, including games. Apple TV could accelerate a strong shift away from television toward games, reducing the value of traditional television advertising. Brands would be forced to innovate to compensate for the availability of games alongside video content.
A CABLE EXODUS?
An Apple TV App Store would also push consumers away from traditional cable providers, especially if Apple works out a licensing deal with a sports network like ESPN. Today, live sports are one of the last remaining content types not available OTT. Streaming live sports through an Apple TV app (as opposed to a cable TV network) would drive massive adoption and push media producers to optimize and monetize streaming content.
Apple TV with an App Store would also be an incredibly popular move. Existing media streamers (like Amazon’s and Google’s) already have full-fledged app-enabled solutions in the market, but Apple’s loyal customers could make it #1 very very quickly. For brands, having an Amazon store, a Google store, and an App Store creates a new level of complexity—and market fragmentation—that many aren’t equipped to handle on their own.