What Can Apple TV do to Compete with Netflix and Hulu?

Apple TV was created in November, 2019 so Apple could compete with other streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. But whereas the other streaming services have had enormous breakout successes that vaulted each of them into mainstream pop culture awareness, Apple TV continues to struggle to find that breakout show that everyone wants to see and everyone is talking about.

Apple TV is able to garner original content with today’s biggest stars like Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hanks, etc. but for one reason or another they still haven’t had a breakout show like Netflix’s House of Cards, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, or Amazon Prime’s The Man in the High Castle that generate true excitement among viewers, the type of content that shifts customers’ mindsets and makes them want to get more content from that specific vendor.

So why have the other streaming services had more success and what can Apple TV do?

It’s difficult to remember, but Netflix was originally just a vendor that distributed existing content. It wasn’t until they created House of Cards that they created new content that viewers wanted to see. What made House of Cards so unique was its strong cast, great acting, and captivating storylines, all of which were superior to most of what was being distributed elsewhere. After that, viewers knew that Netflix was serious about not only creating original content but was serious about creating truly strong and engaging content. The same thing happened with Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian classic. Until then, viewers had been subscribing to Hulu so they could watch replays of old network and cable TV shows. Then The Handmaid’s Tale came along and everyone was talking about it. As a result, Hulu became a streaming service that everyone wanted to watch. The same thing happened with Amazon Prime’s The Man in the High Castle, based on Philip K. Dick’s dystopian classic.

What do these shows have in common?

  1. Two of the three enable a leading actor/actress to showcase their talent in a truly captivating way that ensemble shows cannot.
  2. Two of the three are based on dystopian books.
  3. All three provide a dark portrayal of life as we know it.

Take-aways from this are:

  • When you create a show that focuses on a single character or a pair of characters and lets the actor provide a tour de force performance, viewers pay attention. Yes, there is something to be said for ensemble shows with a ton of characters, but when you let one character (e.g., Francis Underwood in House of Cards, Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale) provide a beginning-to-end blow-away performance, it resonates with viewers.
  • Viewers are enthralled by realistic dystopians. There is something about a plausible yet speculative premise that viewers not only gravitate toward but talk about and keep thinking about after they’ve watched it, especially as it relates to the fate of mankind.
  • Viewers like dark stories that are well-made and presented in a serious manner. Yes, viewers also like to laugh and like their comedies, but the shows people actually talk about and tell their friends about are the ones with ominous plots and attention to detail and tone.

So what can Apple TV do? The answer is simple: Turn the Great De-evolution books into original content for its streaming service. This is why:

  • Each Great De-evolution story focuses on a single character’s plight as mankind’s population declines, allowing a different actor or actress to showcase their talents in a career-defining way.
  • Each Great De-evolution story provides a realistic dystopian story that viewers will love for its authentic and stark portrayal of the end of mankind.
  • While there are moments of levity in each story, the Great De-evolution stories are known for being bleak and serious in a way viewers will love.
  • And a bonus: with six Great De-evolution stories published thus far, and with each having enough content for a season, Apple TV would have five season’s worth of new content that viewers would be talking about and eager to watch.

Only time will tell when and where the Great De-evolution series will air. If it’s at Netflix or Hulu the show will become another incredible, original series created by them. But if it’s at Apple TV, it could be the series that catapults the service from fledgling service to serious contender in the world of streaming services.