Apple could finally pull the trigger on its long-rumoured subscription streaming service early in the new year, according to reports.
The Information is reporting Apple plans a full global launch for the service, which will look to rival the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime, rather than the cable cutting TV streaming services like YouTube TV and PlayStation Vue.
The as-yet-unnamed service will sit within the TV app on iOS and tvOS and launch in more than 100 countries by the end of 2019, starting in the US, the sources say.
As previous reports have suggested, Apple plans to offer a raft of original content to users, which will be free for Apple device owners. The company has reportedly allocated $1 billion for the creation of new content and one of the “tentpole” shows will star Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carell in a ‘morning show drama’.
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The package would also offer optional subscriptions to premium TV networks like HBO, reports say. However, while the Apple-made content would be available to all viewers globally, the paid add-ons would vary from country to country, depending on the licensing agreements already in place.
For example, Sky has the rights to HBO content in the UK, so the HBO add-on wouldn’t be available in the UK. However, Brits may be able to subscribe to Now TV through the Apple service in order to gain access to HBO content.
That also raises the spectre of whether Apple would eventually begin bidding for the rights to HBO content outside of the US when the accord with Sky and HBO eventually expires.
At this stage it does not appear that Apple is planning a live TV streaming service that would bring traditional networks into the fold. It was long-rumoured that Apple was trying to put together a “skinny bundle” of channels, but met with resistance from the networks unwilling to unbundle their content.
Earlier reports have suggested Apple may eventually launch a paid Netflix-style portal for its original content, as well as archive shows.
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