Apple is now trying to add free original content with subscription “channels” to existing digital video services on its “TV” app.
The company wants a good PG-rates series which could become tent-pole franchises for future digital video service. Walter Isaacson wrote about something that Apple founder Steve Jobs told him. Jobs believed that he was ready to bring television to the digital age. Though after seven years, the world hasn’t got digital age of televisions, Apple is trying is best.
According to people familiar with Apple, it is working on a new digital video service with original content and subscription services from legacy media companies. The details of this project is secret, so we cannot name the name of people. But, users of Apple devices such as iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV will find the ongoing work of the service in the pre-installed TV app.
Apple device owners could access the content for free as the app would include only the Apple-owned content. Also, the subscription channels would allow customers to access online-only services such as those from Starz and HBO, by signing up for the service.
According to the people familiar with this project, Apple plans to launch the product early next year. But, an Apple spokesman refused to comment on this.
According to reports of Bloomberg in May, the subscription channels will be similar to that of Amazon’s Prime Video Channel subscriptions. Customers could easily access all of their content from within a single TV app instead of downloading separate apps from multiple media channels and their providers.
This year, Apple is investing about $1 billion on original content. Their main target is PG-rated shows that could attract large audiences and would avoid any trouble to the company. So, users could easily access the content for free on all devices. Two people familiar with the project also said that Apple wants some “tent pole” franchises to create a paid subscription service similar to Netflix. For instance, consider “Game of Thrones” without the sex and violence. The WSJ reports in the last month suggested that Apple is having about 24 original shows in development and production phase.
Media companies are aware of the situation
Finding such shows isn’t easy. Apple had to struggle a lot to have deals with large media companies. As Apple wants to create a direction consumer relationship, media companies would not agree with this deal. According to some media executives, Apple was responsible for the collapse of music industry, as it defined 99-cent price for single songs.
Eddy Cue, Apple’s software and services chief, played a major role in creating this strategy of selling single songs instead of albums. Due to this, media executives are unwilling to let Cue and CEO Tim Cook create direct consumer relationships.
For this, Apple is having someone who knows everything about legacy media companies. Peter Stern joined Apple in 2016, and has been working to create contracts and deals with such legacy media companies.
Stern comes from the cable TV industry. So, he is completely familiar with such legacy media companies, and could help Apple’s TV service. Media executives are still worried about Apple’s control over the media industry. But, Stern could help Apple to finalize contracts with those companies.
Earlier this year, Apple acquired a digital magazine product named “Texture”. And, it is also trying to convince print media companies to join the product. For this, Stern is in charge as well. Stern faced difficulties in convincing news organizations to provide control of the subscriber billing relationship to Apple. Companies get more ways of preventing customers from canceling services with the direct control over customers’ purchasing decisions. Also, the same applies to adding new services.