If you haven’t noticed, Apple has been steadily becoming the go-to place to watch movie trailers online—or at least it seems that way. While YouTube and Vimeo were once seen as the two most popular platforms to stream movie trailers, Apple has seen a sharp increase in its percentage of views on all major websites and social media platforms since 2016, giving Apple an estimated 60% of the trailer views in 2017. So how did Apple take over the movie trailer industry? To understand this, you should look at three factors: marketing strategy, brand positioning, and technological innovations.
The History of Movie Trailers and Apple
Throughout its history, Apple has been a pioneer in trailer distribution. In 1995, when the internet was still in its infancy, Apple distributed trailers via what was then called News & Quicktime.
It would be 1997 when they made a big splash using several songs from Nine Inch Nails’ album “The Fragile” in their now-famous trailer, “The Matrix.” The innovation made an impact so profound that studios, including Universal Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and 20th Century Fox, would soon adopt Apple as their digital distribution provider.
In 2007, Apple experimented with trailer previews on the iTunes home page alongside music content. Soon after, they moved to open up new markets with promotional campaigns in Latin America and Asia, where physical media is largely unimportant.
Apple’s industry dominance peaked in 2012 with nearly 75% market share worldwide, but there were signs this share would dwindle as YouTube emerged as a force to contend with – especially given their commitment to providing TV advertising spots without charge to marketers.
In recent years, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter have all been vying for control over the market, which will only grow more competitive as time goes on.
Reasons Why Apple Became a Spot for Movie Trailers
Apple’s production of movie trailers started innocently enough. The company wanted to produce a trailer for their new operating system in 2007, so they created one for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which would be released that December. It only had about 750 views on YouTube before it was removed as soon as an official Disney trailer was released.
Rogue One is one example of many free movie trailers on Apple’s social media channels. Ever since their initiative began in 2016, nearly every live-action Marvel movie has had a standalone poster made exclusively for Apple’s social media sites. But how did Apple Become the king of the movie trailer? Let’s explore the steps the company scaled to reach these heights:
First Step: iTunes Adds Videos
Apple began its takeover of the video industry in 2007 with the release of iTunes. One of the things that made iTunes such a massive success was its ability to show music and videos in an easily navigable interface.
When you searched for a song, iTunes would also show you every video that contained that song. This was an exciting innovation because it changed how people consumed media by making it more convenient and easy to search for what they wanted to watch.
It also marked the beginning of iTunes’ long relationship with Hollywood. Before this point, DVDs were still dominant in home entertainment. For instance, when you rented “The Incredibles” on DVD back in 2004, you had to put it into your DVD player and sit through the previews before you could start watching the movie.
Second Step: iTunes Goes Mobile
Apple’s desire to own movie rentals in iTunes took a significant step forward by launching an iPod-compatible software version. At this point, Apple was able to offer its customers instant access to movie trailers on their iPods and other video-capable mobile devices.
With many theaters not accepting or posting trailers online, this gave theatergoers yet another way to see what’s coming soon in theaters. Plus, now they had even more reason to purchase those iPods!
However, it didn’t stop there: In 2006, iTunes expanded to include movies for sale (in addition to renting them). The service launched iPhone capabilities for downloading movies from the store in 2008.
Finally, with the release of iOS 5 in 2011, users could stream movies from the app rather than downloading them first- and can still rent them. For example, “The Social Network” trailer was released on YouTube at 12:01 am EST but showed up exclusively in the new iTunes Trailers application within minutes.
Third Step: iTunes Builds Engagement
iTunes is the best place if you want new movie trailers. With nearly 350 million song downloads and 6.8 billion music videos streamed in 2005, it’s clear that iTunes is THE place for every music fan and movie enthusiast.
After a 30-second preview of what you want, you can watch a video full of clips from popular films. This builds engagement with both platforms. Users create a rapport with iTunes while visiting its site looking for movies and vice versa when it’s time to download a new film or check out those long-awaited previews. It’s like having your favorite local theater on demand!
When users log onto their iTunes account and select Movies, they can choose between renting or buying a movie. Buying comes at a higher price but gives access to much more content, including film commentary, director commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes, and even scripts.
On the other hand, renting gives you access to the same content minus any extras – just like going to the theater without popcorn!
Fourth Step: Move to Movies (Apple TV)
Apple TV has become a leader in the movie trailer industry. That’s not just because it’s introducing us to new films but also because it is becoming more and more where moviegoers go to watch trailers.
The move comes from a strategy by Apple to increase awareness of its offerings and strengthen connections with viewers as they begin exploring what content is available on other platforms. In addition, Apple TV provides an intimate look at talent that may be hard to come by on social media networks through its company trailers, snippets, and interviews with filmmakers.
Most importantly, these videos offer glimpses into film careers, giving viewers an idea of how movies are made while giving them insights into filmmaking professionals they may not otherwise have access to through mainstream media outlets.
Fifth Step: Ads – On-Demand Video on Your TV
The newest Apple operating system comes with a TV app that would offer an on-demand catalog of movies and shows from providers including HBO and Netflix. It is bundled with iTunes purchases and is available for sale as individual rentals or purchases.
The TV app is not an exclusive launch partner for ad-supported free content, but if you find something to watch through it, you’ll see ads only when your scrolling channels are within the app itself. (You can’t fast forward past them.)
They’re different than the pre-roll ads before videos on YouTube and Hulu, which are built into their pricing models. With those services, if you skip ahead, the ad doesn’t count against what you’re paying for a viewing time— it’s still 20 seconds long, no matter what. With Apple’s TV app, though, advertisers will have a stronger incentive to create shorter spots to compete for people’s attention.
Sixth Step: Sync with Other Services
Since Apple’s online store doesn’t carry any Blu-ray discs, it’s not surprising that movie trailers on iTunes are in HD. They also have trailers for 4K content. With movie trailers being a popular marketing tool, it only makes sense for one of the biggest distributors to sell them and make them available in HD (a necessary form of video quality).
With movies now looking more cinematic than ever thanks to 4K visuals, it’s no wonder they’re premiering their best titles on iTunes before anywhere else. If you want to know what films are coming out this year or next, head to iTunes first. It’s likely that if it isn’t there, you won’t be able to find it anywhere else either.
Seventh Step: Owning the Experience Across Devices
Apple is taking on a new challenge: to make all digital content work better and more seamlessly on all their different devices. In other words, Apple wants to be a one-stop shop for media across screens.
The last frontier for owning digital content is owning the experience across devices and screens, not just as movies or music but also things like trailers, ads, sports highlights, and web series.
Integrating media experiences across products have given Apple complete control over customer experience. This caters to not just people who buy a movie or listen to music through iTunes but everyone who views it through Apple TV or browses it on their phone.
Steve Jobs had always wanted to take over Hollywood. He negotiated a deal in 1998 with Disney to distribute Pixar movies in the U.S. while it was still independently owned. In 2006, he orchestrated a multi-year deal with NBCUniversal for content from all three of their divisions: Universal Pictures, Focus Features, and Universal Television.
Apple’s next move was to aggressively pursue advertising deals with major studios like Fox and Warner Bros., which led them to get an exclusive window for teaser trailers for new movie releases.