Apple TV+ makes video-streaming debut at Rs 99/month

apple, apple tv, netflixApple is offering a free one-year subscription of Apple TV+ to customers who purchase any new company products.

A small amount of Rs 99 per month is all one needs to tune into Apple TV+, the video-streaming service from iPhone-maker Apple that went live in India on Friday. That is quite a steal considering the palette of exclusive original content that the service promises to offer — The Morning Show starring Jennifer Aniston of the famed Friends series, and Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club to name a few. Additional programming will be added each month, the firm said.

Further, Apple is offering a free one-year subscription of Apple TV+ to customers who purchase any new company products. Through family sharing, up to six family members can share one Apple TV+ subscription. Existing customers can avail a seven-day free trial of the streaming service. The strategy of the free dole-out is to maximise the subscriber base, CEO Tim Cook said.

“Apple TV+ is an unprecedented global video service with an all-original slate,” Jamie Erlicht, head of Worldwide Video at Apple, said.

Global players Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, who are already shelling out a considerable portion from their coffers to woo Indian viewers, will find a new competitor in Apple — fuelled by cheap data prices, about 550 million consumers in the country are expected to take to online video viewing by FY2023, according to a recent KPMG-Eros Now report.

While Amazon can bank upon its e-commerce play to add to Prime subscribers, Netflix, whose basic plan for India starts at Rs 499, may face a tough contender in Apple, which is an aspirational brand for many consumers, analysts said. The California-based firm’s mobile-specific plan also costs `100 more than Apple’s pricing. Netflix, nonetheless, has been ramping up its slate of regional content to cater to the masses besides launching original properties like Sacred Games and the recent Bard of Blood. Netflix currently has a library comprising over 10 regional languages (including Hindi).

Analysts at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) estimate Netflix to have invested around $70 million-$80 million on India original content; Amazon Prime Video spent close to $70 million.

India’s video over-the-top (OTT) space has over 30 players scrambling for eyeballs. The number stood at nine in 2012.

In India, Hotstar is the top app in terms of downloads and monthly active users (MAU). It had 300 million MAU (monthly active users) in June 2019, a RedSeer Consulting report showed. Experts say Hotstar’s sports content is a big draw — customer acquisition for the firm becomes easier. Players looking for mass adoptions need to scale up like Hotstar, they added.

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