Apple device owners could be in line for a new influx of free original video content as part of a revamped TV strategy, according to reports this week.
CNBC sources say Apple is planning to furnish device owners with a new version of the TV app on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. This would offer completely free access to a number of high-budget original TV shows funded and produced by Apple.
The popular original show Carpool Karaoke is already available free via the TV app after originally being available to Apple Music subscribers only. However, today’s report claims Apple is seeking ‘tentpole franchises’ to offer to its hundreds of millions of device owners. This, the unnamed sources say, could eventually underpin a move to a Netflix-like paid subscription service.
The report says Apple will launch the revamped version of the TV app early next year, which will combine the free original content, alongside paid access to subscription-based legacy providers like HBO via a new “channels” interface.
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The report says Apple is targeting PG-rated shows that will appeal to wider audiences for its free original content offering. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Apple is already developing at least 24 original TV shows at a budget of over $1 billion, so it appears there’ll be plenty of shows to choose from.
However, Apple’s plan may face opposition from media production companies who’d be less inclined to enter into deals with Apple to product content that can be given away free of charge – especially if those shows are of the family-friendly variety, offering broad appeal.
Imagine, for example, the writers of a show with an appeal and potential longevity akin to that of Modern Family agreeing to a development contract that would see their work given away for free?
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