Apple has been investing a lot of money in Hollywood. The company is planning to launch an online streaming service for which it has spent over $1 billion on new content. The smartphone maker is expected to unveil its video service and a news subscription service during a scheduled event on March 25th. The event will be held at the Cupertino campus in California.
The lineup of shows that will be released once the service launches is still not clear. But the company has been pulling in a lot of Hollywood stars over the last 12 months. It’s very likely that the list will feature a star-studded line up. Recent reports indicate that the smartphone giant has in fact been able to sign a number of high-level deals with Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Steven Spielberg, M. Night Shyamalan among a host of other notable names.
Apple had also hired two top TV executives to spearhead its efforts towards online streaming. Despite this, the company has released very little information about this new venture. Although a few minor things have come out, the programming details have remained secret. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has hinted a few times about the possible programming lineup on the streaming service but he has been very careful not to reveal too much. During a conference call with investors in January, Cook confirmed that the company is pursuing a series of original programs. He added that more information on this will be revealed at a later date.
Presumably, Cook was holding off on any major announcements until the company was ready to launch the streaming platform. Well, that date has now been set. Many people are hopeful that everything will be revealed on March 25th when Apple finally launches the video service.
Apple’s track record on TV is not really that good. Its set-top box dubbed the “Apple TV” never really took off a few years after it launched. Steve Jobs also revealed in 2011 that he had “finally cracked” how to create a connected iTV. Jobs passed away later that year. There were never any concrete steps taken by the company to make such a TV a reality. Apple also had a plan to launch a virtual cable service a few years ago but failed to get the right partners on board.
The company tried to leverage its popular Apple Music platform to offer some video services. It has already released two original video series on the platform called “Planet of the Apps” and “Carpool Karaoke.” These shows were big flops. Apple is looking at services as an important part of diversifying its revenues due to poor device sales. In fact, the company wants to double service revenue by 2021. This will represent a $25 billion increase.
Venturing into video streaming is seen as one of the main strategies towards this goal. Apple intends to start in the US before massively expanding the streaming service to over 100 countries around the world. Some reports note that the video service could be free for Apple customers at first. However, the company will face stiff competition in this space from giants like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.