Apple TV to Launch in Mid-April, Says Unconfirmed Report
It's going to be a busy year for over-the-top (OTT) service launches, and one of the most high-profile could debut in mid-April. According to an unconfirmed report from The Information, Apple's TV app will be upgraded to allow subscriptions in mid-April. Apple has been telling its entertainment partners to be ready for the launch at that time. The story cites three unnamed people familiar with the rollout.
It appears that Apple will be joining the channel aggregation market, letting viewers subscribe to multiple entertainment services from one place and paying with one bill. Roku launched a similar service yesterday.
It's unclear if Apple will debut its original content at the same time, but it would make sense. Apple's OTT plans are a mystery, but earlier reports said Apple will distribute its content for free to Apple devices, such as iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs. Apple has signed original content production deals with Oprah Winfrey and Damien Chazelle, among others.
Apple made a splash at this year's CES without actually attending by signing partner agreements with Samsung and other connected TV makers that will give its OTT service a wider audience. An earlier report said Apple plans to expand OTT distribution to over 100 countries by the end of 2019.
Onboarding Amazon Prime and Hulu's subscriber base to Apple TV alone gives the service the potential to become largest single VOD platform in the U.S., while Apple TV+ will feature shows from Hollywood A-listers like Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.
In a rare expansion outside its ecosystem, Apple works with Samsung for streaming video support ahead of its service launch.
While a late entrant to the OTT space, Apple has big plans, taking its free service to over 100 countries shortly after launch.
An unconfirmed report says Apple's latest video play is to give premium content away through an app, then sell third-party subscriptions.