Owners of iPhones, iPads and Apple TVs will get $1 billion in free original programming when Apple launches its forthcoming streaming video service, reports CNBC. Similar to the Amazon Channels marketplace, Apple will offer subscription channels for existing OTT services like Hulu and HBO Now through its updated digital TV app. Customers will be able to access all their paid channels through the Apple TV app. Sources say the new app will be available early next year, though Apple has not confirmed the launch date.
Apple is reportedly working on about two dozen original shows and movies, says The Motley Fool. In June, we reported that Oprah Winfrey had signed a multi-year deal with Apple to create original programming. Business Insider says there are 19 original shows, including 17 scripted series and a biography on NBA all-star Kevin Durant as a youth. Here is a sampling of programs that Apple is producing:
- Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories
- Drama about morning TV talk shows starting Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston
- Are You Sleeping, a thriller-drama featuring Octavia Spencer
- Home, a docuseries
- See, a drama set in the future
- Comedy series starting Kristen Wiig
There is one primary difference between Apple and other original content offerings and providers though. Apple wants PG-rated programming for the 1.3 billion active Apple devices around the world which could prove challenging. Jonathan Shieber of TechCrunch is not impressed with Apple’s plan for family-friendly programming, as evidenced by his September 23 article “It sounds like Apple’s original content is going to be really, really bad.”
It seems everyone wants in on the streaming video on demand market. Next up is AT&T, who is now producing original content like Mr. Mercedes, a mini-series based on the Stephen King series. As we reported in last week’s Five on Friday, AT&T is planning a subscription video service for WarnerMedia to launch by the end of 2019.
“Today we announced plans to launch a new direct-to-consumer streaming service in the fourth quarter of 2019. This is another benefit of the AT&T/Time Warner merger, and we are committed to launching a compelling and competitive product that will serve as a complement to our existing businesses and help us to expand our reach by offering a new choice for entertainment with the WarnerMedia collection of films, television series, libraries, documentaries and animation loved by consumers around the world,” said WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey in a statement.
Why would Apple give away its content? Because it has a loyal audience who might be willing to buy additional products and services. Think of it this way. If every device owner paid $1 for a streaming digital video service, Apple will have covered the cost of its investment. It will be interesting to see if Apple’s family-friendly approach creates a problem in finding content and attracting viewership.