As Apple reportedly prepares to raise the curtain on its streaming video service, one analyst believes that the company’s privacy push could give it an advantage over its rivals.
BTIG analyst Walt Piecyk said Apple positioning itself as a protector of consumers—which is being highlighted in a new commercial from the company—could be key for the Apple’s long-term media service plans.
“We expect Apple to avoid an advertising model, which attracts the need for consumer info,” wrote Piecyk in a research note. “As more content is viewed over the top and on mobile devices, Apple’s reputation for siding with the consumer on privacy should be a selling point against Facebook, Amazon and Google.”
The commercial follows Apple CEO Tim Cook’s op-ed from earlier this year urging the FTC to create a registry where consumers can see who’s buying and selling their personal data.
"We cannot lose sight of the most important constituency: individuals trying to win back their right to privacy," Cook said. "Technology has the potential to keep changing the world for the better, but it will never achieve that potential without the full faith and confidence of the people who use it."
If Apple does indeed refrain from launching any ad-supported streaming service, it would set itself apart from Amazon, Facebook and Google, which all collect user data for selling targeted advertising and shape original programming strategies.
That’s not to say that Apple won’t be taking in viewership data on its newly revamped TV app, which is expected to relaunch today as a hub for subscription services and Apple’s original TV series and films.
According to Recode, Apple will host and serve video streams accessed through its new service, a move that will give the company direct access to viewership data generated on its platform. It differs from how the Apple TV app currently works as an aggregation point that redirects users to corresponding apps.
While Apple today may not drill down into the technical aspects of how its new video service will work, the company is likely to provide glimpses of its upcoming originals, pricing for its service and a launch date. Piecyk said that regardless of what Apple does today, media skeptics are still likely to balk at the plans, resulting a likely near-term sell off of Apple stock.
“Most of today’s criticism will probably be accurate but viewed through a short term lens. Content creation is difficult, expensive and ‘very different than making phones,’” wrote Piecyk. “But we have been around long enough to hear about how Apple’s plan to ‘make phones was quite different from the PC market.’ We also recall Netflix skeptics who wondered what media talent would work for a company that ships red envelopes.”
Piecyk added that there are likely many executives who would want to work for Apple’s video business, and specifically mentioned recently departed HBO CEO Richard Plepler as a possibility for Apple.