Apple reportedly decides against low-cost TV dongle, will instead double down on original content production


In brief: Apple has reportedly decided against developing a low-cost alternative to its Apple TV media player over concerns that such a device would tarnish its reputation as a creator of premium devices. Instead, the Cupertino-based company will double down on original content for its streaming platform and pump more into marketing efforts.

Sources familiar with the matter told The Information (paywalled, via MacRumors) that Apple had been interested in a low-cost TV dongle for a few years. The project was reportedly spearheaded by a video and audio marketing executive named Tim Twerdahl, who believed a cheaper device would open the doors for more people to subscribe to Apple TV+.

Phil Schiller and Greg Joswiak, however, disagreed. Getting into the business of creating cheap, low-margin devices would only hurt Apple’s reputation as a premium products maker, they argued. The senior executives won the battle, and Twerdahl reportedly left Apple not too long ago.

Apple instead decided to make the Apple TV+ app available on other platforms, and even secured a deal with Roku to put a dedicated Apple TV+ button on Roku remotes.

Looking ahead, Apple is also interested in boosting its original content output for 2022.

Sources say Apple aims to put out at least one new item per week next year, which would be more than double the pace of its 2021 release schedule.

Apple has also devoted more money to its content marketing budget this year; north of $500 million. It is believed that Apple spent much less than this on marketing its shows in 2020, but it’s still far from the $1.1 billion that Netflix has shelled out in marketing just in the first half of 2021.

Image credit James Yarema

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