Apple is nothing if not ambitious, and naturally, that extends to its TV plans.
Apple's original content service, TV+, is expected to launch this fall and will include offerings from Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston and various other stars. And in an interview over the weekend, Apple VP of software and services Eddy Cue told The Times that Apple will focus on "creating the best" content, versus creating a large library of content in the mold of its competitor Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) . Apple (AAPL - Get Report) shares were up 1.7% on Monday.
In addition to television series, Apple plans to finance six original films per year to the tune of $5 million to $30 million per project, with a goal of breaking into the Academy Awards running according to recent reports.
"[Netflix's] motto is to create a lot of content so there's always something for you to watch, and it's working really well. There's nothing wrong with that model, but it's not our model," Cue said in the interview.
The question is: For Apple, will a focus on quality translate into a meaningful number of subscribers?
Between Netflix, Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) Prime Video, Hulu, HBO and soon Disney+ (DIS - Get Report) , consumers already have a wealth of choice in high-quality TV series and movies available on demand, for just a few bucks per month -- and how Apple's TV+ will fit into the increasingly crowded marketplace for video streaming isn't at all clear.
"Apple's doing what everyone else is doing: They're trying to create really good content for a wide demographic," said Dan Rayburn, a principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan and streaming media expert. "We already have fragmentation in the market: Consumers only have so many dollars, so many hours to watch this content. It's too many at this point."
Apple's TV+ will launch with a few capstone series, including The Morning Show, a comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, a sci-fi series See starring Jason Momoa, Steven Spielberg-produced Amazing Stories and several other projects backed by some of Hollywood's big names. Pricing for the offering hasn't been announced yet, though many analysts expect Apple will price the service near the $10 mark.
With Disney+ and WarnerMedia's (T - Get Report) streaming offering also launching in the coming months, industry watchers broadly agree that video streaming won't be a winner-take-all game, with room for multiple subscriptions in many households.
"It's settling in that the average household will have three services...Netflix, Hulu or some replacement for cable with live TV and original content, and I think Disney is doing a very good job at positioning itself as number three," said Mark Douglas, CEO of the advertising software firm SteelHouse. "I don't see any chance that Apple will be one of those top three."
The companies in the mix each have their own advantages in the quest for more subscriptions: Netflix, which had 149 million subscribers globally as of April, is the incumbent player. Disney is a global brand with formidable marketing power, and Apple has its installed base of more than 1 billion devices -- which, in most cases, already includes users' payment details through existing services like the App Store and Apple Music.
"That's a serious serious benefit that others don't have," Rayburn added.
No matter how good Apple's content may be, it could still prove difficult to forge a predictable, recurring revenue stream out of a small library of original shows.
Douglas pointed out that unlike the music streaming business -- where the inventory is mostly uniform across multiple services -- Apple users embraced Apple Music for convenience reasons. Given a world of choice in original content, that reasoning likely won't apply to TV+.
"The convenience is irrelevant if I'm not getting something that I feel is worth paying for every month," he said.