Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Apple Short On Details For Subs TV Service

Apple Inc. unveiled new products for entertainment, financial services, news and videogames as the technology giant vies with competitors that are also moving to expand their disruptive influence outside their core businesses in search of new growth.

The Wall Street Journal reports the announcements Monday mark a strategic shift for Apple as it seeks new momentum amid softening sales in its core iPhone business. The centerpiece of the star-studded event at Apple’s headquarters, capped by an appearance by Oprah Winfrey, was a new video-subscription service to carry original programming.

In a first for the company, it plans to make its TV app, which will carry that content, available on competitors’ televisions and other devices as well as its own—reflecting Apple’s growing ambition to go beyond selling its own gadgets.

Apple also announced Apple Card, a mainly digital credit card launched in partnership with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. that aims to challenge incumbents by offering low interest rates and eliminating both late fees and annual fees.

It unveiled Apple News+, a $9.99 monthly service that provides access to 300-plus magazines as well as newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal through an agreement with parent Dow Jones & Co. And it showed off Apple Arcade, a gaming subscription service offering access to 100-plus exclusive games for an unspecified monthly fee.

Chief Executive Tim Cook portrayed the services as an extension of Apple’s existing mix of products, saying the integration of hardware, software and services is something Apple does better than anyone else. “We’re excited to extend our services even further, making them even more entertaining, more useful and more informative,” he said.

Meanwhile, CNBC reports Apple introduced Apple TV+, its subscription video service for original programs, and showcased a handful of series starring Jennifer Aniston, Kumail Nanjiani and Oprah Winfrey.

But it didn't say how much Apple TV+ would cost. Apple had previously planned on giving away at least some of its original content for free, CNBC reported last year, so new pricing information was hotly anticipated.

Apple unveils new Apple TV+ streaming service from CNBC.

In addition, even if the shows are fantastic, a consumer could watch them all in a month. It made no sense to announce a subscription video service with no library.

Apple also failed to discuss its future content spending plans. If Apple is going to charge a monthly fee for its original content, how much does it plan to spend on video? Is Apple considering challenging Netflix's $10 billion per year? Again, nothing.

Apple also has negotiated the right to bundle some of the existing streaming services in its new Apple TV Channels product for a discount, according to people familiar with the matter. This could give Apple TV Channels an advantage over the competing Amazon Channels by giving customers the ability to sign up for multiple streaming services for a lower price.

But again, Apple offered no pricing details at all.

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