Apple announced a deal with Major League Soccer(MLS) in June to stream all games exclusively via the Apple TV application. While more details are awaited, a new report from Bloomberg indicates that Apple is “building an advertising network for live television” as part of the MLS deal. The iPhone maker is holding discussions with advertising partners and MLS sponsors in advance of the launch next February about airing advertisements during soccer games and related shows.
The tech giant recently struck a 10-year deal worth about $2.5B to air MLS games in a new subscription service, as well as Apple TV+ streaming platform. The company will also stream a portion of games for free to users of the Apple TV app. Bloomberg reports that Apple is planning to run advertising in all three partnership tiers: the dedicated package paid TV+ subscriptions and the free TV app. The move represents an expansion of the company’s early live TV advertising, which is included in Major League Baseball games that already air on TV+.
The Athletic reported last month that Apple made a noteworthy move by making their Apple TV app the only place for fans to watch all Major League Soccer games without restrictions or regional blackouts. Moreover, Apple is also one of the frontrunners for NFL Sunday Ticket rights. If Apple ultimately wins the rights, advertising will play an important role in this package.
Apple has increased its aggressive advertising strategy, putting search advertisements in its maps service, for instance, as early as next year.
Apple, Advertising and Adtech
Apple’s advertising privacy restrictions have shaken the digital advertising sector, including those in iOS 14. But in the interim, Apple’s ad business has expanded significantly. Bloomberg estimates Apple generates roughly $4B in advertising annually, with a goal of increasing that number to double-digit billions.
Apple is actively expanding its advertising presence through new ad placements and technical DSP manager positions. It makes sense, doesn’t it? It is estimated that digital advertising is worth over a hundred billion dollars, with Google dominating this industry for many years. Meanwhile, the purpose of a DSP is to allow third parties to buy advertising and targeting data programmatically. And It’s no secret that data is Apple’s most valuable asset.
Apple’s automatic opt-out of invasive targeting, attribution, and advertising is one of the key reasons why consumers prefer it. The question is whether Apple’s built-in trust will be undermined after hitting native apps in iOS with ads.
With the company’s move to software and ad tech, it will undoubtedly face challenges. Even though Google did not innovate much in terms of technology or placements, it has decades of experience in digital marketing and even delayed the deprecation of cookies. It has a major pie of the market share too.
In light of all this, what does Apple’s advertising future look like? Legal and regulatory work still needs to be accomplished, as well as establishing a robust technology platform. In the shifting landscape of Apple’s business model from hardware to software and advertising, competitors need to step up their game. It’s going to be a healthy competition.
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