) pay-as-you-go, download-only online music and video service has
proven to be more satisfying than Netflix (NASDAQ:
), Hulu or Amazon Prime (NASDAQ:
). According to a new study by ChangeWave Research, 35 percent of
survey respondents are
"Very Satisfied" with their service
. This compares favorably against Netflix (23 percent), Amazon
Prime (22 percent) and Hulu Plus (20 percent).
If consumers prefer iTunes in its current form, investors must
wonder about its potential for growth if Apple launches a
streaming video service. Right now, iTunes is only used as a
virtual marketplace for digital content. Users can buy and rent
as much as they want, and there are not any recurring monthly
fees involved. However, iTunes also lacks an unlimited option for
those who want to watch (but not purchase) a wide range of movies
and TV shows. That is why streaming video services remain so
compelling -- because they offer a cheap way to consume a lot of
Apple is rumored to be building an
online radio service
to compete with the likes of Pandora (NYSE:
) and Spotify. It is also thought to be a counter-attack against
), which launched its own service last month. That service (which
is being promoted as part of the Xbox brand) is somewhat of a
hybrid between Spotify and iTunes, as it allows listeners to
stream or download music. Windows 8 users will be able to stream
music for free for a limited time, but Xbox users will have to
subscribe to a monthly service.
Microsoft and Amazon are among the companies rumored to be
interested in acquiring Netflix
. The Amazon buyout has been disregarded as
nothing more than a farce
, but that doesn't mean the company is not serious about video.
Over the past 12 months, the company has added a
cornucopia of new content
to Amazon Prime.
Apple is not expected to build a streaming video service to
compete with Netflix and Amazon. However, the Mac maker is
believed to be building a
pay-as-you-go streaming cable service
to promote its illusive television set. Analysts argue that the
company will not be able to launch a TV until it perfects its
plans for a cable service, which are being held up by content
providers that are reluctant to sign on. Without content, critics
argue that Apple will not be able to build an attractive TV.
There were rumors that Apple would acquire Hulu to fill in the
blanks, but that video service -- which is owned by Disney (NYSE:
), Comcast (NASDAQ:
) and News Corp (NASDAQ:
) -- is not currently for sale.
(c) 2012 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.