Somehow Apple, Netflix, and Amazon conspired to have streaming news this morning. I’m not sure how. The Wall Street Journal published something from “people familiar with the matter” alleging Apple is in very early talks to add a few original shows like HBO’s “Westworld” or Netflix’s “Stranger Things”. I put that in quotes because those shows are quite different from one another, but WSJ said those were the examples. The weird part is bolting that onto Apple Music, where Apple is putting other music-centric video programming. WSJ alleges this is a way for Apple to differentiate itself from Spotify, rather than compete with Netflix, but I’m not sure anyone was really asking them to bolt a non-music drama series onto a music service. Also, I hope someone at Apple eventually tries to play video content inside that Connect tab, because it is a mess, and it needs to be fixed before you shoehorn TV shows in there.
Assuming there’s a massive marketing blitz around the TV show, it could be a way to get people who don’t pay for Apple Music to sign up for the TV show and try Apple Music, before they cancel their subscription when the show is concluded. Apple Music will just mangle your iTunes Library so you can watch a TV show. No big.
Seriously though, there are probably people who have burned through their Apple Music trials, before deciding not to continue, and now that the service has improved over time, the video programming could be an incentive to pay to try it again.
I’m mostly looking forward to all the drama about the drama series — assuming, of course, that these very preliminary discussions evolve into actual video.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg Businessweek published a story about Netflix’s international efforts, specifically in Brazil, where they are targeting their video content, and their infrastructure to the needs of markets where they previously didn’t exist. They don’t simply flip a switch to activate Netflix in Brazil.
Lastly, Variety released the news that Amazon is launching their first add-on subscription channel of content they bundle themselves. Amazon has offered add-on subscriptions for a while now, and they basically let you add a “channel” of on-demand video from a specific provider to your streaming package for a nominal, monthly fee. It’s integrated into Prime Video, and you don’t get shunted to a separate app experience. These little a la carte bundles offer more specific, targeted content, similar to adding a channel, or a tier, to a traditional cable or satellite package. Amazon’s anime channel is mostly notable because it could presage other channels Amazon creates for other sorts of programming, or genres.