Apple Video – the new cable network

I think Apple will aggregate several premium channels (ie HBO, Starz, Showtime) which right now cost upwards of $15 a month each, mainly because retaining these streaming subscribers costs a lot. One of the benefits of cutting the cords and streaming HBO is that users are unlikely to pay the $15 a month for the whole year. They will get a month, binge say Game of Thrones, and then quit. How does HBO hold onto that subscriber for a whole year?

After years of circling the TV business, Apple is finally ready to make its big splash: On Monday it will unveil its new video strategy, along with some of the new big-budget TV shows it is funding itself.

One thing Apple won’t do is unveil a serious competitor to Netflix, Hulu, Disney, or any other entertainment giant trying to sell streaming video subscriptions to consumers.


But what if Apple offered its subscribers (there are already over 300 million of those, more than Netflix has) a package that included HBO, Starz, etc.? Such that HBO got $2 a month from each subscriber but, because of the package, they now stay on all year? 

It could substantially increase revenues for HBO.

HBO gets $24 per subscriber, without having to spend the money to find and retain those subscribers. Win-win.

Apple can do this because it has a huge number of people who already subscribe to Apple services. If only a third of Apple’s current subscribers join in, that would immediately equal Netflix’s entire subscriber base! Apple has more than 1 billion people with Apple devices to draw from. And probably have deals in place to put their software on TVs that are not iOS.

Perhaps Apple is going to be the cable network for streamers, aggregating the many streaming channels, charging a subscription  and taking its cut while increasing the revenues for all the others.

Image: Dan Foy