Apple has become successful at the back of exclusivity it offers to its customers. Most Apple services are limited to company's own devices. But, maybe it's time to extend at least some of them to other platforms if the Cupertino-based tech giant wants to compete with others. Apple Music is already available on Android smartphones and now the tech giant has decided to bring Apple TV app to Android TVs widening its reach.
Apple TV app, which was initially available on Apple devices, was expanded to Amazon Fire OS ecosystem and LF webOS earlier. But, the decision to bring the platform to Android TVs is the most significant one till now as it covers all modern smart televisions from all popular brands. The Apple TV app can be downloaded through the Google Play Store for Android TV, and is available for all devices running Android TV 8 or above.
The support has also been extended to smart boxes and stick that run Android TV. For example, the app can now also be downloaded on Mi Stick or Mi smart box from Xiaomi.
The roll-out comes at a very strategic time for Apple. Last year, the tech giant had announced one year of free subscription to all its users. That is coming to an end next month. It gives enough time to Android TV users to test Apple's content and service on big screen before that. Apple understands that to compete with players like Netflix and Prime Video, it needs to target more viewers, especially those who consume content on big screen.
The decision doesn't come across as a huge surprise. Apple has been hinting that it will eventually make Apple TV app more accessible. The platform arrived on non-Apple devices like Google TV and the PlayStation 5 earlier, along with Amazon Fire TV in 2019. Some Sony TVs running Android TV also got the support last year.
Apple is planning a lot of exclusive content on its platform starting with the second season of its very popular show Ted Lasso which is coming in July. During the process, it has realised that to grab a larger share of the fast growing OTT market, it needs to partner with other players. Currently, Apple has a very small share among OTT platforms, and a lot of users will have to decide if they want to pay and continue their subscription once the free trial is over.
In India, Apple faces an even bigger task. Even Netflix and Amazon are yet to take their market share in double digits in a price sensitive market. According to Omdia's 'India: Online Video Trends and Omdia Consumer Research Highlights' report, Disney+ Hotstar leads the subscription VOD market in India with a 41 per cent market share. It can be credited to a huge catalogue of sports events that Star India-owned streaming platform has.
Disney+ Hotstar is followed by Eros Now with a 24 per cent share followed by Amazon Prime Video (9 per cent) and Netflix (7 per cent). ZEE5 and ALTBalaji both have a 4 per cent share of the market followed by SonyLIV which has a 3 per cent market share.
Apple, on the other hand, has just 1 per cent market share. This is a figure it would definitely want to change and Android TVs can play a huge role, given their fast adoption in the country.
Extending support to other platforms won't be enough though. Apple also needs to work on its content library. Till now, the focus has largely been on churning out original content which includes only few notable names till now like The Morning Show and Ted Lasso. There are also few exclusively attained films like Tom Hank's Greyhound and Tom Holland's Cherry.
Still, you can scroll through the entire content library within minutes and that's nothing in front of what Netflix has to offer. Type any random word and chances are Netflix would have at least one movie or series on it.
Apple's model of keeping its services limited to its devices has worked for years. But, it isn't a great idea when it comes to streaming. Most people stuck at home due to pandemic, and unable to visit theatres would not prefer watching movies on a 6-inch iPhone. Apple might be late to the party when it comes to accessibility across platforms, but it's good to see that the tech giant has finally taken a step in the right direction.
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