Streams are the new downloads: Apple music service rumours swirl as Netflix tests ads and Spotify experiments with video

 
Charlotte Henry
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The hit series Orange is the New Black, produced by Netflix and available to its subscribers
The battle to dominate the growing online media streaming market, and to make money from it, is about to go up a level.
Tech giant Apple is rumoured to be preparing to announce a $10 (£6.50) a month music streaming service at its WWDC conference for software developers on Monday.
If the move is announced, it could be Apple’s most significant move into the music market since its iTunes store launched in 2003, allowing people to buy individual songs for 99p, which was seen as revolutionary.
The move would also be a direct challenge to Spotify, which allows users to stream and download unlimited music for £9.99 a month.
However, unlike Spotify, Apple is not expected to announce a free advertising tier on its service, and will make all users pay.
Meanwhile, video streaming service Netflix is testing out placing adverts before and after users watch a video. The idea caused consternation with some users, who thought a subscription model had meant they would avoid adds. However, the firm has said that the ads will only be for content that Netflix produces itself, such as the Kevin Spacey political drama House of Cards, not products.
Along with these developments, Spotify announced this month that it is partnering with some major media companies, such as the Guardian and the BBC, to bring video content to subscribers, in a direct move into Netflix’s territory.
Apple may be keen to get into music streaming, as it clearly feels that Spotify has pulled the rug from under it. Spotify, meanwhile, has still not turned a profit, despite reporting revenues in November of $1bn, and what is thought to be 36m users.
With increasingly fast internet connections, it is becoming ever easier to stream high quality media content to a variety of devices. Some new Netflix content will even be available in the ultra-high-definition 4k resolution. In 2015, streaming is the new owning.

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