We're just months away from the launch of Apple (AAPL 1.41%) TV+, the Mac maker's ambitious foray into a first-party video-streaming service. After years of rumors, the company officially unveiled Apple TV+ back in March, and it's scheduled to launch this fall. Services chief Eddy Cue has been making the rounds with the media, recently disclosing to a French outlet that Apple Music had hit 60 million paid subscribers.
In a pair of new interviews, Cue has shared some more details about the forthcoming service.
Quality over quantity
Cue sat down recently with The Sunday Times and British GQ to discuss Apple's strategy when it comes to video streaming and original content. It's already been quite clear that Apple TV+ will focus on quality over quantity, at least initially, but Cue officially confirmed that approach. Apple has been tapping a stable of high-profile actors, directors, and showrunners for its lineup, including Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Steve Carell, and Oprah, among others.
But we're still only talking about a fairly small catalog compared to other prominent streaming services like Netflix (NFLX 5.54%). Building up large catalogs of original content takes a long time. Cue told GQ (emphasis added):
We think there's an opportunity for us, given the changes that we see in technology to play a part of it. And the way we do things is we always say we try to be the best, not the most. And we're getting excited about it. The shows we're creating are really, really good.
Historically, Netflix had focused on quantity, hoping to offer a dauntingly diverse array of content to cater to as many consumers as possible. More recently, the video-streaming leader has shifted somewhat toward emphasizing quality, taking home a growing number of awards including Emmys and Oscars in recent years as part of its effort to balance quantity and quality. Netflix is also becoming more cost-conscious, according to a report this week from The Information.
Cue told The Times that there's "nothing wrong with that model," but Apple simply isn't interested in doing things that way. While Apple has far deeper pockets than Netflix, it isn't allocating nearly as much to its content budget. Apple reportedly has a budget of $2 billion (up from its prior budget of $1 billion), while Netflix is expected to plunge a whopping $15 billion into content this year. Netflix spent roughly $12 billion on content last year.
The services executive also dismissed prior reports that Apple is exerting undue influence on the creative process. The New York Post reported in March that Apple executives were sending notes to its storytellers, pushing them to be more family-friendly and approachable. CEO Tim Cook allegedly sent a note to producers saying "don't be so mean," which Cue denies ever occurred.
"So we have shows that are dedicated to small kids," Cue told GQ. "And we have shows that are dedicated to mature adults."
One of the biggest remaining questions about Apple TV+ is the price. Apple hasn't detailed pricing and it will be competing with a field of media heavyweights all launching streaming services. Most comparable services cost around $10 per month. Will quality be enough to justify whatever price that Apple plans on charging?