Apple Dropped Plans to Launch Low-Cost Apple TV Dongle, to Focus on New Content for Apple TV+

BY Chandraveer Mathur

Published 10 Sep 2021

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Sources familiar with Apple’s plans revealed details related to the company’s internal discussion and attitude towards Apple TV+ in detail. Apple reportedly sees Apple TV+ as an independent business unit rather than a way to lure people into the Apple ecosystem.

Back in 2018, Apple was reported to be working on a low-cost Apple TV dongle as an affordable alternative to Apple TV priced at $149. The project was led by Apple audio and video marketing executive Tim Twerdahl, an advocate of how low-cost TV devices could make Apple TV+ accessible to a wider audience. This is based on his experience leading similar projects at Netflix and Amazon. Greg Joswiak and Phil Schiller reportedly insisted that Apple shouldn’t make cheap, low-margin devices since it could tarnish the company’s reputation for premium products. This is why Twerdahl’s affordable TV dongle idea was shuttered. Twerdahl reportedly exited Apple recently.

Apple decided that the ideal middle-ground would be to develop apps for Apple TV+ on other platforms including devices from Samsung, Roku, Amazon, Sony, and Microsoft. Apple was said to be deliberating putting the Apple brand on another company’s device before Roku agreed to add a dedicated Apple TV+ button to its remote control. Apple reportedly doesn’t have imminent plans for another similar button.

Apple plans to increase the volume of regular new content on Apple TV+ in 2022, with at least one new addition per week. This would be twice the pace of content addition through 2021. Apple reportedly doesn’t mind paying for Apple TV+ exclusive content, provided the studio partners cover additional costs and associated overruns.

Apple is said to share little detail of marketing campaign objectives with studio partners. These partners are now frustrated that Apple doesn’t market shows aggressively before their release. These disagreements notwithstanding, Apple TV+ is all set to benefit from a $500+ million marketing budget this year. The company didn’t spend nearly as much in 2020 and it still isn’t a huge number. Netflix has already blown up $1.1 billion on marketing during the first half of 2021. Apple told advertising partners that it won’t buy Facebook and Instagram campaigns for Apple TV+ titles.

According to an unnamed source aware of Apple’s subscriber figures, this summer’s subscriber count for Apple TV+ stands at around 40 million. The company was expected to reach this milestone by the end of 2020. It is said that approximately half of the Apple TV users are Apple TV+ subscribers.

[Via The Information]