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Apple’s video service to launch in April, but HBO and Netflix may not be on board

Published Feb 13th, 2019 3:51PM EST
Apple TV
Image: Shutterstock

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With iPhone sales remaining stagnant and unlikely to see a significant boost until the roll out of 5G iPhones in 2020, it’s no secret that Apple has been making a concerted effort to boost revenue from its growing line of services. Apple Music, for example, continues to grow at an impressive clip, with Tim Cook revealing during the company’s most recent earnings conference call that the music streaming service now has upwards of 50 million subscribers.

Beyond music, Apple’s next big push into services centers on TV, and in particular, original programming. Over the past 18 months or so, Apple has been busy inking development deals with some of Hollywood’s most popular and influential content creators. And similar to Netflix’s strategy, the range of original programming Apple currently has in the pipeline spans all types of genres.

According to a new report from CNBC, Apple’s burgeoning TV initiative will likely see the light of day by April at the earliest or in early May at the absolute latest. Corroborating previous reports about Apple’s TV plans, the report claims that Apple’s original content will be available for free for iOS users and will also enable users to seamlessly sign up for streaming packages from other content creators.

That sounds well and good, but CNBC relays that Apple’s TV offerings may not include service options from the likes of HBO and Netflix. Hardly a surprise, entities like Netflix are increasingly shying away from sharing any type of streaming revenue with Apple. To this point, Netflix late last year removed the ability for new subscribers to sign up with iOS via in-app subscriptions, thus removing Apple’s ability to earn 15% of all subscription fees in the process.

“While the exact disagreement between Apple and HBO isn’t known,” the report reads, “media companies have been concerned about data sharing and revenue splits as Apple tries to aggregate existing services in new ways.”

This of course isn’t exactly earth-shattering news given Apple’s penchant for boosting revenue by any means necessary. Just yesterday, for instance, word surfaced that some publishers were hesitant to join Apple’s rumored news subscription service on account of Apple wanting 50% of all revenue.

It’s worth noting that the absence of streaming options from entities like HBO, Netflix, and perhaps Hulu arguably hurts Apple more than anyone else given that the company would ideally like to house all popular streaming options under a unified umbrella app on iOS. Meanwhile, the aforementioned entities are big enough and popular enough that they don’t exactly need Apple to help them boost cumulative subscribers.

As for the original programming Apple has been working on, some of the projects in the works include a revamp of the 1980s hit Amazing Stories, a new comedy series from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia stars Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, and projects from La La Land creator Damien Chazelle.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.