Tech Transformers

Apple could launch video streaming to rival Netflix while Facebook could do pay-per-view, analysts predict

Key Points
  • Apple could launch a video subscription product next year, analysts at CCS Insight predict
  • CCS also forecasts that Netflix could introduce new pricing plans
  • Facebook could also begin to offer pay-per-view sports, CCS says
Apple CEO Tim Cook.
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Apple could launch a video subscription product next year, while Netflix could be forced to introduce new pricing plans, one analyst firm has predicted.

Tech analysts at CCS Insight released their 12th annual set of predictions about the industry on Wednesday.

One of those is the emergence of an Apple on-demand video service. Original content would feature heavily.

"Everyone is jostling for position and everyone is jumping in on the area of video. When you look at Apple, it has a very strong hardware offering and their services business is on the march," Paolo Pescatore, vice president of multiplay and media at CCS Insight, told CNBC on the phone.

"The real battleground is in the area of original content, but original content would feature prominent and Apple would be very well placed to do that."

Software and services is seen as a key growth driver for Apple in the future as smartphone life cycles potentially get longer and as the iPhone-maker looks to monetize is massive user base.

Revenues from services came in at $8.5 billion in the September quarter, growing 34 percent year-on-year.

And video could be a way to boost that further, building off the back of other subscription services like Apple Music.

Apple, the world's largest company by market capitalization, has already dabbled with original content. It acquired rights for "Carpool Karaoke," which debuted on Apple Music this year, for example.

And Chief Executive Tim Cook has also commented on original content, hinting there could be more to come.

"With our toe in the water, we are learning a lot about the original content business, and thinking about ways that we could play in that," Cook said in an earnings call in January.

Netflix new pricing plans

The changing content landscape could also bring about new moves from the major technology companies, CCS Insight said. The analyst firm is also forecasting that Netflix could introduce new pricing options and services in the quest for new revenue.

Currently, Netflix has three pricing plans in the U.S. that start from $7.99, depending on how many screens a user wants to use the service on and whether he wants shows in higher quality. Netflix recently hiked the price of two of those plans as it continues to fork out billions on content.

With content costs rising and competition in video streaming increasing, Netflix may have to experiment with new options, Pescatore said.

"The prediction is that Netflix gives new pricing options for video to allow people to buy videos or rent them on an a la carte basis. Equally, we expect Netflix to move to other areas and cross-sell games and music into their basis," Pescatore told CNBC.

Facebook PPV

Social media platforms could also push further into the content game. Facebook has been pushing video on its platform for a while, adding new capabilities such as Facebook Live.

The social network has been involved in bids for sports rights this year and even struck a deal with Fox Sports to stream the UEFA Champions League soccer tournament.

Facebook's interest in sports streaming could see it begin to offer pay-per-view, challenging traditional broadcasters. And with the strength of its targeted advertising, it could be very appealing to sports rights holders.

"The other opportunity for Facebook is even-based advertising. The danger for Facebook, who are moving more into sports, is those premium content owners do not want to give content for free. Facebook cannot rely on advertising alone, but to make the jump in terms of paid content is hard. So Facebook's stepping stone will be showing sport on a pay-per-view basis," Pescatore said.