TV, ‘they’ say, is a dying market. Yet, judging by the number of huge tech companies wading in, you could be wrong. Of course, TV is no longer TV in any traditional sense and we might well have to rename the medium.
Apple waded in a couple of weeks ago, amid much noise, hype and celebrities talking in warm fluffy sentences about story telling. News + is launching immediately, with Arcade and TV+ launching this autumn.
More recently, T-Mobile launched their TV service via a company it acquired last year, called TVision Home. This service costs $ 100 a month for general customers, with a discount for loyal customers.
Then, just when you thought things were calming down, Disney launches its own, Disney + SVOD service and the price is as about disruptive as it gets. The service costs just $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year.
Given that this is Disney we are talking about, not some start-up trying to price others out of the market, then presumably the company’s competitors are racing back to the drawing board and wondering how they will make any money. Disney has an extraordinary portfolio of content, from Star Wars to the Marvel franchise to National Geographic and all the Pixar content.
It also means that for the first-time Apple (who has long wanted to be more like Disney) and Disney are in direct competition. Apart from Apple now having to make a decision about whether Disney CEO Bob Iger can or should stay on its board, it will be the start of an epic battle.
Disney already has a massive share of the content market and must be the odds-on favourite to win this one.
The real hope must be that this level of competition from companies with great brands and deep pockets will herald an era of more and more compelling content.
The word on the street, though, is that the ‘new’ content players are bogged down by mid-level bureaucracy and are playing it extremely safe with decisions around commissioning new content.
The hope has to be, with Disney in the fray, things will have to change.