Apple recently rolled out new services for video games, entertainment, and news. The new services mean that marketers can only participate in the platforms through magazine ads. iPhone maker also rolled out Apple Card, a digital card that is primarily digital, built on Apple’s Wallet app.
Apple’s services are growing by the day. Apple TV Plus, for example, is a new video subscription service without any ads that offers an opportunity to pay a flat fee every month. The company will be announcing the charges before their official launch. Next month, the company will be releasing an updated app for the service that will make it possible to view video-on-demand and TV channels. The company announces that the app will work both on their connected devices and competitor devices like LG Electronics, Amazon, Samsung, Roku, and Vizio.
There is now a newsstand available on Apple – Apple News Plus – where subscribers pay $9.99 per month to access over 300 newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal. The company is yet to release the pricing for Apple Arcade, a service for gamers to subscribe, to get over 100 exclusive games with no additional purchases, ads, and ad tracking.
Apple’s latest released services point to the stand the company takes on advertising. Talking to a group with his company and some of their rivals in the launching event last week, the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook said that the company is undecided about advertising. Apple News Plus and Apple TV Plus do not collect consumer data to inform ad targeting efforts, or ever track them.
‘Ours is a different approach,’ said Cook as captured by Ad Age. In his speech, the executive did not mention Google or Facebook, but his comments alluded to the two platforms, which are, as it is, facing data privacy-related problems. Apple also launched a TV ad selling it on its privacy protections with a tagline to the tune of, ‘if privacy is important to you, it should matter to you what life your phone is on.’
At the event, the CEO laid his focus on the experience of the reading subscribers who get access to 300 magazines through Apple News Plus and the benefit of seeing zero advertising. The magazines will look the same way they do in their printed editions including the photos, ads, and texts. ‘Every ad that features in the print version will feature in the digital,’ said Doug Olson. Olson is Meredith Magazine’s President.
For the magazines, they will benefit from listing the audience they get from Apple News Plus on their reports to advertisers as the app has certification from the Alliance for Audited Media. Marketers will enjoy more protections against fraud and will be better assured that their brands are safe compared to platforms with content generated by the user. The National Geographic show, whose digital magazine shows moving images, will enjoy the same feature but only on the cover. This indicates that publishers do not get to create editorial content that is more dynamic than still images. Consequently, and with time, magazines will offer marketers, placements that look like TV spots but with emotional content and engaging product displays.
Apple’s services come at a time when the company is dealing with a decline in sales of the iPhone. Towards the end of last year, sales dropped by 15% to get to 1.98 billion. Of all other Apple devices including iPads, wearable devices, and Mac computers, the iPhone is the only one that saw a decline. The company’s high margin businesses like Apple Music, Apple Pay, App Store, and iTunes grew 19% to yield $10.88 billion, setting the company on the path to reaching its goal of $50 billion per year by 2020.
More services on offer make the company’s hardware more useful and valuable to the consumer but they also pit the company against more competitors. Tech companies are consistently branching from the core business to fight for the attention span of the viewer. The original programming for Apple TV Plus will have no ads, a factor which pits Apple against Amazon Prime and Netflix in the already crowded field. Snapchat, YouTube and Facebook also have the same programming to engage users in their platforms. Apple may spend over $1 billion financing original shows and broaden the distribution of its content to include non-Apple hardware but that hardly compared to what Amazon, Netflix, and HBO spend.