- Apple announced Apple TV+ on Monday, an ad-free subscription video service that will debut this fall and include original TV shows.
- Apple’s streaming effort is very similar to Amazon Prime Video, in that it includes original content as well as “Channels” that allow users to subscribe to premium services like Showtime and HBO.
- The one big thing that differentiates Prime Video from Apple TV+ right now is that Prime Video has a huge library of licensed content.
Apple is jumping into the streaming war this fall, and has enlisted a team of high-profile stars and creators to take on Netflix and Amazon.
During a special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre in California on Monday, the tech giant announced Apple TV+, an upcoming ad-free subscription TV service that will include original TV shows. The service will debut this fall on a new Apple TV app, and feature TV shows starring and created by Jennifer Aniston, Jason Momoa, J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg, M. Night Shyamalan, and more.
Pricing was not announced on Monday, but is expected to be revealed later this year.
Along with the streaming service, the new Apple TV app, which debuts in May in over 100 countries, will feature “Apple Channels,” including HBO, Starz, Showtime, CBS All Access, Smithsonian Channel, and more. Pricing wasn’t announced, but a price of $US10.99 for Showtime flashed on screen during the demo video on Monday.
Apple’s upcoming streaming efforts push it into a competitive arena where Netflix dominates and services like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Now/Go are trying to catch up. Other companies will be joining in the near future, such as Disney with Disney+ and WarnerMedia with its own streaming service, both expected to debut later this year.
The new Apple TV app will be available for the first time on Samsung smart TVs this spring and on Roku, Amazon Fire, Sony, LG, and Vizio platforms in the near future.
Based on what Apple revealed on Monday, Apple TV+ sounds very similar to Amazon Prime Video, in that the new Apple TV app will include both Channels and original shows, and users can rent content from the iTunes store as usual, just as subscribers can rent content on Prime Video.
Apple Channels seem exactly like Amazon Channels
Apple announced Apple Channels on Monday, which allows users to subscribe to the services they want and view them through the Apple TV app with no additional accounts or apps.
Amazon Prime Video already does that.
Amazon launched its channels in 2015 as a partnership program. Through Amazon Prime Video, users can subscribe to and watch premium cable networks like HBO, Showtime, and Starz without a separate app or account for those platforms. Apple TV channels will include HBO, Starz, Showtime, CBS All Access, Smithsonian Channel, EPIX, Tastemade, Noggin and MTV Hits.
Pricing for Apple Channels wasn’t announced on Monday, but the demo showed Showtime priced at $US10.99, which is the same price as the Showtime channel on Amazon Prime Video. This suggests that other Apple Channels could be priced similarly. The HBO channel at Prime Video, for instance, is $US14.99.
Apple is coming strong out of the gate with originals
Along with Channels, Apple revealed its slate of original programming to debut with Apple TV+. Prime Video also includes original content on top of its channels.
Apple already has an impressive lineup of talent attached.
Among the Apple original shows coming to Apple TV+ are an “Amazing Stories” reboot from Steven Spielberg; “Morning Show,” starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell; “See,” a sci-fi drama starring “Aquaman” actor Jason Momoa; Kumail Nanjiani’s “Little America;” and “Little Voices,” from J.J. Abrams and Sara Bareilles.
Prime Video’s best known original shows include “The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel,” which swept the Emmys in the comedy categories last year, and “Homecoming,” a drama starring Julia Roberts based on the Gimlet Media podcast of the same name. It’s developing a big-budget “Lord of the Rings” TV series, which it paid $US250 million for the rights to, and renewed sci-fi drama “The Expanse” for an upcoming fourth season after Syfy canceled the show last year.
There’s one big thing missing from Apple TV+
There’s not a whole lot about Apple TV+ right now that differentiates it from Amazon Prime Video as a service, outside of the content both will offer. But there’s one big thing that Prime Video has that Apple TV+ looks like it won’t.
Prime Video has a massive library of licensed content.
According to a December study by streaming search engine Reelgood, Amazon Prime Video has over 12,700 movies, far exceeding Netflix and Hulu (Netflix has the most original content, though). Prime Video also had the most TV shows at over 2,000.
While Apple TV+ will include content users can buy or rent (just as Prime Video does), there has been no indication so far that it will have a catalogue of licensed movies and TV shows.
Original content is becoming more and more important, and Apple TV+ is off to a good start on that front. But licensed shows like “The Office” and “Friends” are still the most watched shows, even on Netflix.
Amazon Prime Video is priced as a standalone service at $US8.99 a month, or available as part of a broader Prime subscription (including free two-day shipping) that costs $US12.99 a month or $US119 a year. We don’t yet know the pricing on Apple+.
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