If you hadn’t noticed, over the past few years, Netflix has undergone an extremely impressive transformation. I mean, the name Netflix is now synonymous with not only streaming content online but also original content. This is a far cry from where they started. In fact, Netflix’s market cap now exceeds that of Disney, so I mean, they’re certainly making a name for themselves. There are a few companies that have emerged (or are emerging) as competitors to Netflix, but they remain largely uncontested. Apple, for example, is throwing their hat in the ring and attempting to make original content. But the problem is – they’re really good at making iPhones. What do they know about original content? Maybe nothing, but that’s why they need to get advice from Netflix.
To date, Apple only has about 13 planned shows. According to 21st Century Fox CEO, James Murdoch, this is nothing more than “dabbling”. He’s not wrong, but Apple can’t launch itself into this behemoth overnight. They just made their intentions known late last year. So 13 shows on the horizon isn’t that bad after all. Murdoch is implying that Apple needs to step up their game if they want to make an impact in the entertainment business. While I don’t agree, I don’t know that we’ve given them enough time to get their platform off the ground. Netflix has had the benefit of being around for years. Sure, in the beginning, it was the mail DVD business, but that’s still years of building a business and a reputation.
Let’s look at Amazon for a minute though. Sure, they don’t have the same kind of catalog that Netflix has, but they do have some pretty great original content. And they also have a large catalog. So why can’t Apple start with something like that? Pick up a dozen shows that are going to draw people in, regardless, and then make some really great original content. I don’t disagree with Murdoch’s comments – because he has a point. In June alone, Netflix is planning to release 29 new original TV shows and movies. But like I said, we can’t expect Apple to be at that level yet. I mean, Netflix didn’t start busting out tons of original content overnight.
I could be wrong on this one, but I recall Orange is the New Black being the big break for Netflix. It was something that everyone was waiting for, and it was a huge success when it came out. The same could be said about House of Cards. I mean, present-day scandal aside, it was also a big hit. Yes, they came out around the same time, but it wasn’t like Netflix had 10 other major series like that. Not to mention, Netflix can be incredibly slow at releasing the next season. I understand it takes time to film and edit, but when you can binge watch all 10 episodes in a weekend, you’re jonesing for the next season pretty quickly.
All that said, I think that people are underestimating Apple. For one, we don’t even know what Apple is planning. I mean, sure, it’s an online streaming service, but what does that really mean? I think we need to give Apple some time and let it breathe a bit. Once we have a clear understanding of what that is going to look like, I think we can then start to question and judge Apple on the amount of content they have.