Apple’s rumored video-streaming service is launching in April or May with original content free for Apple device owners and a platform to subscribe to other digital media services.
According to CNBC today, the Cupertino technology giant is in the final stages of preparing the new service that will offer a mixture of original and licensed programming.
Launch partners reportedly include Viacom, Lions Gate and CBS. They will allegedly offer premium channels like Starz and Showtime as add-on subscriptions on top of Apple’s own original content offering that will be included in the service by default.
The service will allow customers to sign up for existing digital streaming products and watch them in the iOS TV application, similar to Amazon’s Prime Video Channels. Apple wants to simplify mobile video viewing by housing content in one app instead of forcing users to launch separate apps for each service.
That sounds a lot like subscriptions are coming to the TV app. Currently, you’re required to subscribe to a streaming service on iOS and tvOS directly in its app or the official website.
ROUNDUP: Apple’s original TV shows and movies
Although Apple gave a heads-up to Hollywood studios whose offerings will be available via the TV app to be ready for launch around April or May, there will be some major holdouts initially.
Don’t expect Netflix to be a part of the new service. HBO’s participation is also in doubt, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple hasn’t offered HBO the same terms that Amazon offered, said the person.
Netflix and Hulu aren’t part of Amazon Prime Video Channels and aren’t expected to be a part of Apple’s product either, according to people familiar with the matter.
The report notes that HBO may join the service but isn’t as far along in discussions with Apple. The main points of contention: data sharing and revenue splits.
Apple is pushing for a 30 percent cut on every customer that subscribes to an over-the-top video service through its streaming service, three of the people said. Currently, Apple takes a 15 percent cut on revenue from customers that sign up to HBO Now, Netflix and other streaming apps through App Store.
The Information was first to report in January that Apple’s Hollywood push would eventually see the firm unveil and possibly release the rumored service in mid-April.
Tim Cook recently commented on the breakdown of the cable bundle.
I think that it’ll likely take place at a much faster pace this year. We will participate in the original content world. We have signed a multi-year partnership with Oprah, but today I’m not really ready to extend that conversation beyond that point.
We’ve hired some great people that we have a super amount of confidence in, and we’ll have something to say more on that later.
Apple is holding a media event on March 25, but don’t expect any video-related announcements as the presser is said to be solely dedicated to another new service: a premium, all-you-can-eat magazine and newspaper subscription in iOS 12.2’s News app.