Apple Is Going Hollywood. What Does That Mean for Marketers?

Apple is already positioned as a one-stop shop for music, news, and second screens. Now, the company is ready to go Hollywood.

According to Variety, Apple is looking to get into original programming with a goal to “create development and production divisions that would churn out long-form content to stream.”

Though nothing has been officially announced, it appears Apple is set to compete against Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and Amazon in the race to create the best new video content. Presumably, Apple’s move will also be an attempt to edge out Google and Facebook in monopolizing the time people spend online.

So, if Apple introduces a live TV service delivered via Internet next year, as is expected, what will this mean for marketers?

For one, it would provide marketers with new opportunities to advertise to consumers who are streaming video content. And that’s a strategy marketers want to be using.

According to eMarketer’s massive State of Video report, people are now spending more time with digital video than they are with any other digital platform, including Facebook. In fact, time spent watching traditional TV has been decreasing since 2012, while time spent watching digital video has more than tripled since 2011.

This shift is due in part to cord-cutting and the proliferation of connected TVs like Apple TV and Roku. Not only are these devices providing new ways for viewers to watch original programming, but they’re also offering content from existing cable channels. Networks like HBO, Showtime, ESPN, and CNN are starting to offer Internet subscription services as a response to dropping viewership on traditional cable TV.

Naturally, Apple is also trying to curry favor with these TV networks. According to Bloomberg Business, the company is in talks with CBS Corp. and 21st Century Fox Inc. to buy the rights to distribute their programming via Apple TV.

Still, perhaps the biggest kicker of this potential development is that Apple already owns the device we’re watching a lot of these shows on—iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and Apple TVs. As a result, the company would not only control our favorite devices to stream content on, but also the some of the content itself.

It’s no coincidence that, according to BuzzFeed, the Apple TV box-top device is expected to be getting its first big design overhaul since 2012 for Apple’s upcoming event September 9 in anticipation of this move to original programming. The next-generation connected TV is rumored to have a slimmer build, a new remote with touch-pad capabilities, an improved OS with Siri voice control, and a compatible App Store with a software kit for developers. Some even believe that the new Apple TV has the potential to disrupt the gaming market, which has become extremely lucrative in the past decade and surpassed all other major entertainment formats in terms of consumer spending.

With an updated Apple TV and rumors of original programming, by 2016 Apple could control our online media experience in a way no company ever has before. Not only do Hulu and Amazon need to can keep an eye out, but marketers should stay on their toes as well.

Apple is good at setting trends and shaking up our online culture. They should be expected to approach new advertising opportunities in the same way.

Image by Dedi Grigoroiu

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