Apple just dropped something new on us. Don’t roll your eyes yet, it’s not a new iPhone that is nearly indistinguishable from the last or some wireless headphones that cost a kidney. It’s Apple TV+. I know, that doesn’t sound very exciting, but at the Apple event, Oprah and Steven Spielberg seemed pretty enthused about it. So what? Apple paid some megastars to endorse them. Well, that may be, but this news may change the landscape of streaming services, and it oddly has a valuable lesson for you and your business in the modern digital climate.
The streaming market has been dominated by a few obvious players: Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. It may surprise you, though, that there are over 300 streaming services out there, and they’re all vying for your seemingly affordable subscription dollars. And how are they doing that? Premium, exclusive content. We all know content is king these days, but is there too much of it now?
With Oprah promising a show and Steven Spielberg on board for some production, Apple TV+ boasts some pretty spectacular upcoming content. But is it enough to disrupt the status quo? Even Disney is on the streaming horizon, ready to challenge the subscription hotshots as well. The way the streamers are cranking out compelling television has our heads spinning. The fact that each major player is hoarding those flagship pieces of content (à la Stranger Things) to try to force a switch isn’t helping.
A recent study by Deloitte showed that there are now more “pay TV” subscribers out there than there are traditional cable subscribers, but those pay TV customers are suffering a sort of “subscription fatigue.” We want our TV à la carte, but we’ve found that the big names are forcing us to make choices. With so many great shows being kept under lock and key by the major names in pay TV, we either have to suffer a multitude of subscriptions that would force our monthly payments up to the levels of traditional cable, or we just have to go without a few shows.
OK, so how does this apply to you and your business? Wasn’t this about Apple TV+ or something? Yes, I’m getting to that. Apple throwing its hat into the ring of such a contested market with so much growing customer fatigue is a prime example of what’s happening to modern markets everywhere. Digital progress drives diversification. Markets of every industry are being newly challenged by big-box names and small fries every day. Consumers have more options than they care to evaluate. Just like subscription fatigue, option fatigue is creeping into all aspects of life. Why should they have to research and pay for so many things to make sure they’re getting the best of all worlds? Just like pay TV, consumers are beginning to make tough choices to settle with one or two options.
You need to make sure they go with your option. Not settle for it, mind you, but fall in love with it. You need to collect and analyze data as to why your current customers are choosing your business, why they’re staying with it, why (God forbid) some are leaving, and what is working best for you. Study it, learn from it, and lean into it. The giants of content are racing to do this to corner the market, and you shouldn’t ignore that strategy. Play to your strengths and be the best version of you; don’t be another option just making noise in the market, exhausting potential customers. Retention is a whole new game in the digital age, and it pays to do your homework.