Report: Apple video service will mix free original content with subscription channels

Apple original TV shows

Cupertino plans on introducing a new digital video service beginning next year. The cost to Apple device owners will be zero, according to CNBC.

In what’s being described as part of a new digital TV strategy, Apple has decided to marry original content and subscription services from so-called legacy media companies. In doing so, owners of the Apple iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV will find the new content available for free, according to “people familiar with the matter.”

As part of the unannounced service, Apple plans on introducing subscription “channels” that will allow users to sign up for online-only services like HBO Go and Starz.

By offering its original content for free, Apple hopes to appeal to broader audiences. It will do so by only airing “PG-rated” shows.

CNBC also explains:

Apple is also looking for “tent pole” franchises that could serve as linchpins to a paid Netflix-like subscription service down the road, two of the people said. Think “Game of Thrones,” but without the sex and violence.

Apple currently has dozens of original TV shows under development, including ones starting big stars like Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. In total, the company plans on spending $1 billion to get its project off the ground.

CNBC expects Apple to announce its plans early next year.

For Apple to release these series for free to Apple device owners is an interesting move. Still, I’m not sold on its possible decision to only produce family-friendly fare. Interestingly, if you look at the list of series Apple is committed to producing, not all of them sound family-friendly in my opinion. This could suggest that CNBC is wrong on this point or perhaps Apple plans on putting some of its edgier content elsewhere.

Earlier today, WarnerMedia announced that it would introduce a new direct to consumer video service in late 2019. The unnamed product will compete with Netflix, Amazon Video, and Disney’s upcoming service.

What do you think? Are you surprised to hear that Apple might offer its original content for free?