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Apple’s Plan For Its New TV Service: Sell Other People’s TV Services

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Recode: After years of circling the TV business, Apple is finally ready to make its big splash: On Monday it will unveil its new video strategy, along with some of the new big-budget TV shows it is funding itself. One thing Apple won’t do is unveil a serious competitor to Netflix, Hulu, Disney, or any other entertainment giant trying to sell streaming video subscriptions to consumers. Instead, Apple’s main focus — at least for now — will be helping other people sell streaming video subscriptions and taking a cut of the transaction. Apple may also sell its own shows, at least as part of a bundle of other services. But for now, Apple’s original shows and movies should be considered very expensive giveaways, not the core product.

All of this might very well work. Apple has an installed base of 1.4 billion users, and some of them will buy the things Apple promotes: Look at the success of Apple Music, which launched seven years after Spotify but quickly amassed 50 million subscribers due to a free trial period and prominent real estate on Apple’s devices. Another reason this could work: Amazon has already been very successful with its own version of the same idea. Facebook is also bullish on selling TV subscriptions and is pushing would-be partners to sign up so it can launch later this spring or summer, according to industry sources. Similarly, Comcast (which is a minority investor in Vox Media, which owns this site) is rolling out Flex, a $5-a-month service that gives you a bunch of free content (some of which you can also get other places) and the ability to easily buy HBO, Showtime, etc. Instead of offering exclusive content, Comcast is offering subscribers a Roku-like streaming box. According to people who’ve talked to Apple about its plans, Apple’s new TV service will consist of selling TV subscription apps surrounded by millions of other apps in its main app store. “Apple plans on making a new storefront that’s much more prominent for those who use Apple TV boxes and other Apple hardware,” reports Recode. “It will also be able to offer its own bundles — for instance, it could offer a package of HBO, Showtime, and Starz at a price that’s lower than you’d pay for each pay TV service on its own.”


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