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Apple to launch its video streaming service in April but Netflix and HBO might not join: Report

Apple's video streaming service will include its own original content and content from OTT platforms.

  • Published: February 14, 2019 11:41 AM IST
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Image Credit: Karthekayan Iyer


With iPhone sales declining globally, Apple is looking towards services business to drive revenues. The big pillar in that attempt is believed to be a new video streaming service that could be equivalent to Apple Music for streaming music on Apple devices. While Apple has made key hires in the recent times, it has stayed mostly silent about the product itself. Now, a new report states that the Cupertino-based company is targeting to launch the service in April or early May. However, Netflix is not expected to be part of this platform while HBO’s participation is also being doubted.

According to CNBC, Apple will allow customers to sign up for existing digital streaming products and watch them in the iOS TV application. The product is said to be similar to Amazon’s Prime Video Channels service and the company is trying to simplify video viewing experience on mobile by integrating content from across services. According to those familiar with Apple’s plans, Lions Gate’s Starz, CBS (which owns Showtime) and Viacom will offer subscription streaming services on this new platform.

Like Amazon Prime Video Channels, Apple wants to let its users sign up to other streaming platforms from within its service. HBO is expected to join other subscription streaming services but has not yet decided the terms with Apple. The terms of disagreement between Apple and HBO is not known but it could be related to revenue splits. The report notes that Apple is pushing for a 30 percent cut on every customer subscribing to an OTT video platform through its streaming service.

In contrast, Apple only gets a 15 percent cut on revenue from customers who sign up to services such as HBO Now, Netflix and other streaming services through the App Store. The details come right on the heels of a report by WSJ on Tuesday which said that Apple is pushing for a nearly 50 percent revenue split for its news subscription service, which could be announced next month.

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Netflix and Hulu, which are not a part of Amazon Prime Video Channels, are expected to sit out of Apple’s service as well. “We see huge changes in customer behavior taking place now and we think that it will accelerate as the year goes by with the breakdown of the cable bundle. I think that it’ll likely take place at a much faster pace this year,” Cook said during the recent earnings call.

Apple’s proposed video platform is also expected to host its own original video content. The iPhone maker has signed deals with Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Steven Spielberg, and Apple device users are expected to get access to both film and TV content at no additional charge. WSJ reported that Apple planned to spend about $1 billion on original content last year. “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,” Cook added during the earnings call.

  • Published Date: February 14, 2019 11:41 AM IST