As we move into the 21st century, choice reigns supreme with an increasing number of online video options; from Netflix to YouTube, from Hulu to CBS All Access, and everywhere in between. If you want it, it’s available with a click. Unless you subscribe to Apple’s curated ecosystem.
As seems to be the case for decades, Apple remains behind trends as an outlier that marches to the beat of a different drummer. In this case, Apple CEO Tim Cook sets the beat for Apple and that means no X-rated video content, and no R-rate original video content from Apple. All the gory details come from The Wall Street Journal which outlines the ongoing problem Apple has with content that could disrupt the pristine Disneyesque brand.
It all started more than a year past when Cook viewed the Vital Signs video about Dr. Dre.
The show, a dark, semi-biographical tale of hip hop artist Dr. Dre, featured characters doing lines of cocaine, an extended orgy in a mansion and drawn guns.
Sex, violence, drugs. Cook wants no part of those in Apple’s own content. Hello? Tim? Are you there? Have you ever seen Law & Order on TV? Maybe it isn’t as gratuitous as Dr. Dre’s video, but all the dirt and crime and drugs and violence and sex and dirty language and mayhem you want is still available and barely a click away.
Will Apple suffer if it remains the only lone holdout of videos that partake of the aforementioned afflictions?
Probably not. Apple TV is a hobby. Yes, it’s an official product, but barely a rounding error on a spreadsheet when compared to iPhone revenue and profits. Apple sells plenty of video content via iTunes and Apple TV, so what’s wrong with simply extending the same standards and practices to Apple’s own video productions?
Netflix, HBO, and Amazon have raw, edgy content, and for the former two, that’s their business; for the latter, it’s just another choice embedded into a million additional products. For Apple, such content is different. If Apple is associated with unwholesome or unhealthy content, then Apple’s hardware sales might suffer.
Apple is a hardware company. Yes, Services, including iTunes video, App Stores, Apple Music, et al, make up the fastest growing business segment, but it would not exist without hardware sales to a billion customers.
Obviously, Apple does not want to take a risk and move into the unknown where exceedingly raw, edgy, and non-family content could be viewed by the customer base as a blemish on the brand.
Yet, it takes little effort to find such R-rated gems on iTunes, so apparently Apple doesn’t mind all such video content, but seems overly concerned with content that is developed by and financed by the company’s growing interest in video streaming services.
This is a thin line for Apple to walk. If the company is too conservative, it risks being laughed at by the entire industry; another blemish on the brand. If it moves too far into such raw and edgy content, it risks being blackballed by customers.
Choose wisely, Tim.