APPLE – PARTICIPATION MEDIA CASE STUDY #1:
It’s good to be Apple. With 94% year-over-year profit increases, this week Apple announced plans to send $11.47 billion to shareholders, making it the largest dividend-paying company in the world…ever. The secret to the success of Apple is its unwillingness to stay in its lane. While traditional business school theology would have preached, “Stay within your core competency and focus on great technology,” Apple ventured into the entertainment business.
Apple never set out to be a content company; however, Steve Jobs learned early on that his technology wouldn’t sell without partnerships with great content – Other people’s content. Whole industries were born of Apple’s content partnerships, including Microsoft’s Office Platform, Adobe’s Creative Suite and countless audio/visual development tools that the media industry depends on.
So, when Apple needed a solution to market its MP3 player, they looked to content again. This time Apple struck gold with a Curated Content strategy that changed the music industry (iTunes). Nobody knows if Apple intended to own 63% of all digital music downloads, but we do know they’ve sold 57 million mobile devices as a core product in the first quarter of 2013 alone. By building a Customer Relationship Network that engages its customers with the content they want, Apple dominates both industries.
Apple’s Participation Model originally broke ground with custom playlist selection, replacing CDs and network-dictated “play lists.” Participation is now encouraged by user reviews, sharing, gifting and recommendations from the “Genius Playlist.” While other music apps including Spotify and Pandora are improving Participation, Apple is staying in front by moving on to the next innovation curve…TV apps.
Apple TV is on its way to replace the DVD and cable TV, and God only knows if Apple will become its own “Big Brother” vision from 1984. Apple already owns half of the market share of digital movies according to NPD Group. I’ve lost count of how many Apple TVs I own, and my adult kids don’t even have cable TV in their home. I don’t buy them just for the technology. I buy Apple because the content selection is better and new movies are there long before they come available on a Roku box or Cable On Demand. Content is king. And, Apple is the king of content marketing.