Apple Joins The Growing Streaming War

On the latest episode of the E-Commerce Retail Briefing podcast:

Apple’s new streaming service could pose a threat to rivals. A former Netflix and Hulu executive said he thinks Apple’s unique marketing advantages and low price point could make Apple TV+ a competitor right away.

  • Direct-to-consumer department store, Neighborhood Goods, has raised $11 million in a new funding round led by Global Founders Capital. The Dallas-based concept store has raised $25.5 million to date and has plans to open new store locations in Austin and New York. The store concept provides a brick-and-mortar outlet for online companies and carries brands like Dollar Shave Club, Draper James, and Stadium Goods. Neighborhood Goods is also experimenting with features like online browsing of in-store selections. The company also said they will begin offering data for their brands through back-end analytics on activations and branded events at their store.
  • In a press release, JCPenney announced they would be launching a new line of outerwear for men. The line will be launched through their private-label brand, St. John’s Bay. According to the release, JCPenney will roll out the new line in 600 of its store locations and will include a selection of shirts, jackets, vests, sweaters, and more.
  • After piloting Delivery Unlimited earlier this year, Walmart will now be expanding its grocery delivery service to 1,400 more stores this fall. Walmart said the program would become available to more than half the country by the end of the year and be available at 1,600 of their store locations. In a press release, Walmart revealed the expansion of the program comes after receiving positive customer response. The membership will remain $98 a year or $12.95 for a monthly subscription. Walmart has led in grocery pick-up, but the new grocery delivery functionality is a major step toward keeping up with Amazon and other grocers who have introduced their own delivery plans.

Victoria’s Secret Is Making Changes After Disappointing Quarters

L Brands, Victoria’s Secret, may be gearing up for change. Brand chief, John Mehas, unveiled a new direction for the brand’s merchandise and stores. The changes address the consumer’s shift to prettier styles and will move away from what the lingerie brand has typically been known for. He also revealed they would be partnering with third-party brands to help it cross that bridge. In a statement, he said he sees this as an opportunity to, “take a step back and reinvigorate the brand.” While Victoria’s Secret is still a leader in lingerie with $4 billion in global sales, the company has struggled to keep up with consumer trends and its growth is slipping. 

While Victoria’s Secret is in the process of shifting gears in the midst of struggles, L Brands, Bath and Body Works, is continuing to see runaway success. While the company has resisted splitting the companies in the past, executives still haven’t ruled it out. MKM Partners Managing Director said while probably not the preferred route, the board is likely weighing a spinoff of Bath and Body Works, dependent on a combination of trigger stock price and confidence in Victoria’s Secret recovery during the next few quarters.

Apple TV+ Could Be A Top Contender In The Streaming Arena 

Apple is pushing full steam ahead into an increasingly crowded streaming space and former Netflix and Hulu executive, Simon Gallagher, believes Apple’s streaming service will be able to compete with rivals right away. Apple TV+ will debut with nine original series that will include star names like Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, and Oprah Winfrey. While the streaming service will be a low $4.99 a month, some believe people won’t pay for such a slim selection if they already subscribe to a competing service like Netflix or Hulu. However, Gallagher believes it only takes a couple shows to encourage users to maintain their subscription and that Apple will be able to with their current lineup. In a push to promote their streaming service, Apple has offered one free year to anyone who purchases a new iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV. 

A lot of new contenders are joining the streaming arena. Disney, WarnerMedia, and NBCUniversal are also poised to launch their own streaming services. Disney’s service will launch two weeks after Apple’s at $6.99 a month. Apple’s aggressively priced monthly subscription is just one of the advantages it has of gaining users. There are 1.4 billion Apple devices in use around the world that would give it built-in consistency greater than Amazon which has 100 million Prime subscribers. Apple’s brick-and-mortar locations also garner a lot of foot traffic that will give them a marketing advantage many of the other streaming services don’t have.