Apple’s video streaming service could launch as early as April; Netflix, HBO, Hulu unlikely to join

By: | Published: February 14, 2019 5:23 PM

Apple video streaming service is reaching the final stage before it is commercially released for the Apple device owners

Apple could be targetting April to launch its streaming service (Source: Reuters)

If everything goes well, Apple could launch its streaming service in April or early May, CNBC reported on Thursday. The anticipated video streaming service is one of the many subscription services that Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed the company is working on. Moreover, the streaming service by Apple will not feature Netflix and Hulu while HBO is also highly unlikely to be bundled, people familiar with the development told CNBC.

The Apple video streaming service is reaching the final stage before it is commercially released for the Apple device owners. It will essentially bundle different streaming platforms into one subscription that Apple customers can buy and watch in a dedicated TV app on iOS. The aim is to converge all the video streaming platforms into a single app. According to CNBC, Apple may have teething problems before its streaming service could set off as Netflix has backed out.

Netflix is one of the biggest streaming platforms available in most countries worldwide. While the reason is not clear, it seems the Los Gatos-headquartered company is moving ahead with its standalone offerings.

HBO is also not as far on board with the streaming service that Apple is working on, the report said. While it is a potential partner that Apple is making efforts to rope in, there have not been favourable conditions HBO could agree on. According to the report, Apple has not offered HBO a deal as benefitting or profitable as the one Amazon Prime Video offered for streaming HBO shows on its platform in select countries.

In India, HBO shows are exclusively available on Hotstar, which is the streaming platform owned by STAR India, a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox. In the US and some other markets, Amazon Prime Video has acquired the license to stream HBO shows on its VOD platform besides its own original programming.

The reason behind HBO’s reluctance to join Apple’s video streaming service is unclear yet. However, it is believed that the media companies are expressing their concern over the revenue sharing that Apple will offer as a part of the new kind of bundled service. The data sharing schemes are also worrying the companies who are being approached by Apple for its video streaming service.

Apple is mulling to take a 30 per cent revenue cut per customer on every over-the-top video platform as a part of its streaming service, CNBC reported citing three people close to the matter. As of present, Apple charges a 15 per cent cut on the subscriptions or purchases made on services such as HBO Now, Netflix, and other streaming apps via App Store, the report added. This means the customers who opt for iTunes billing also pay Apple its cut on the subscription.

The services that are joining Apple to offer their services include Lions Gate’s Starz, CBS that also includes Showtime, and Viacom, according to the report. Apple has also inked deals with Oprah Winfrey Network and other major entertainment firms such as Reese Witherspoon and Steven Spielberg. The content from these platforms will be available to the customers free of charge, the report said.

“We will participate in the original content world. 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,” Tim Cook said in the company’s earnings call last month.

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