Apple Original Series

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?

Netflix’s content chief doesn’t know what Apple’s doing with its original TV programs

Netflix Logo

Netflix might have the most to lose by Apple's upcoming entry into the world of internet TV. However, it doesn't look like the company is worried about the iPhone maker's move, at least not yet, according to CNET.

Speaking at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in Los Angeles, Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos said he doesn't know what Apple is doing with the $1 billion it has budgeted to produce original content. Further, he doesn’t “think people making shows for them have any idea” either.

Whether he’s worried, Sarandos says Netflix doesn’t “put much focus on any competitor.”

Those words might be accurate, of course. It's just as likely, Netflix isn't worried, because, like everyone else outside of Apple, it has no clue what's going on behind the scenes.

To date, occasional stories have popped up over the past year mentioning which TV projects Apple has approved and which stars are connected to them. We know, for example, that Apple is putting together a growing lineup of comedies, dramas, documentaries, and animated titles. We also know some of the biggest names in Hollywood are on board, including Academy Award winners like Reese Witherspoon and Octavia Spencer, plus Jennifer Aniston, Aaron Paul, and many more.

What no one seems to know is when the shows will begin airing and where. Rumors continue to suggest Apple plans on announcing a video streaming service that will somehow be tied to Apple Music. The specifics, however, have yet to surface, and might not until early next year. Most think Apple will begin airing programs in mid-2019.

For its part, Netflix continues to spend upwards of $8 billion each year on new content. Perhaps that amount of cash is the real reason Netflix doesn't seem worried about Apple. What do you think?

By 2025, Apple’s original video streaming business could equal Netflix

At last count, Apple has over 20 original video streaming projects in development. Despite this, the iPhone maker has yet to announce how it plans on distributing these shows or when they will begin rolling out to the public. Even without knowing this information, a team from Morgan Stanley suggests Apple's foray into video production could prove successful relatively quickly.