With over 1.4 billion active installed base of devices globally and millions in India - iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, Macs, iPod touch and more - Apple has finally flexed its muscles to take on content streaming giants like Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime and Disney with aggressive pricing, free offers and all-original stories.
The announcement of a much cheaper Apple TV+ subscription than expected (Rs 99 a month in India and $4.99 in the US and other countries) immediately saw shares of Netflix, Disney and Roku tumbling down as Apple, which has nearly $210 billion cash at its disposal, has sensed the mammoth streaming opportunity that lies ahead and is going to open its coffers for creating more originals, even in regional languages.
Indians today spend 30 per cent of their phone time and over 70 per cent of mobile data on entertainment and movies are their preferred choice on smart TV and larger screens.
An over-the-top (OTT) viewer in India is spending approximately 70 minutes a day on video streaming platforms, with a consumption frequency of 12.5 times a week, an Eros Now-KPMG report said last week.
When we look at the data consumption, In India, the Internet video traffic is projected to reach 13.5 Exabytes (EB) per month by 2022 -- up from 1.5 EB a month in 2017 -- with video contributing 77 per cent of all Internet traffic by 2022.
The opportunities are enormous and Apple TV+ with its large installed device base is smiling at its rivals who lack the vantage point of being in your home in the form of an iphone or iPad.
"Apple built on their integrated ecosystem advantage by announcing low-monthly pricing for Apple Arcade and Apple TV+, and a free year of Apple TV for a buyer of an Apple device," said Frank Gillett, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester.
"Though it can all be labeled incremental innovation, Apple maintained its disciplined approach to delivering industry-leading features and experiences built on well-engineered hardware, software and services," Gillett told IANS.
Netflix, which has reached 1.3 million subscribers in India, just unveiled its mobile subscription plan for India at Rs 199 per month. This is its fourth Indian plan, in addition to the existing basic, standard and premium plans which are priced between Rs 499 and Rs 799.
Amazon Prime Video a" part of Amazon's Prime subscription a" costs Rs 129 each month.
Soon to be available at Rs 99 a month, Apple TV+ will also be available (via Apple TV app) on select Samsung smart TVs and will come to Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and VIZIO platforms soon.
If you buy a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch, you can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free. Once the free period is over, you will still pay Rs 99 a month. Through family sharing, up to six family members can share one Apple TV+ subscription.
On offer are nine originals from the world's most celebrated creative artists that will debut on the Apple TV app on November 1.
For example, "See" -- an epic drama starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard -- is set 600 years in the future after a virus has decimated humankind and rendered the remaining population blind.
"The Morning Show" drama starring and produced by Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston explores the world of morning news and the ego, ambition and the misguided search for power behind the people who help America wake up in the morning.
"Dickinson" is a darkly comedic coming-of-age story, explores the constraints of society, gender and family through the lens of rebellious young poet, Emily Dickinson.
Other upcoming originals are "Servant," a new psychological thriller from M. Night Shyamalan and "Truth Be Told," a gripping new series starring Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer and Emmy Award winner Aaron Paul, among others.
Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CyberMedia Research (CMR), said that with the Apple TV+, Apple has made a significant statement of its intent, and its push towards offering new value propositions to its user base.
"By pricing its subscription low, and bundling free annual subscription with its devices, Apple has focused on a very smart and prudent strategy to build a sizable subscriber base and, drive revenues," Ram told IANS.
In India, the over-the-top (OTT) leader Netflix plans to invest Rs 600 crore per year in originals whereas Amazon Prime had committed Rs 223 crore in 2017 for the next 2-3 years in the country. For some original series, Amazon and Netflix are spending in the range of Rs 1-2 crore per episode.
Apple, on the other hand, has reportedly planned to spend $6 billion on creating original content.
Once a hobby for Apple, the content streaming has become a full-fledged business and is set to disrupt the OTT and subscription video streaming industry globally including in India.
"Make no mistake, the Apple TV+ not only takes on the competition head on, its bundled subscription will also potentially contribute as a pivot to increasing iPhone and iPad sales," Ram noted.