We may finally be getting a clue as to how Apple will distribute its expanding slate of original TV content.
The Cupertino tech giant is rumored to be planning the development of a single subscription that would combine Apple Music, digital magazines and news, and original video content, sources familiar with the company’s plans told The Information.
Since last year, Apple has been putting together quite a large stable of original TV content, spanning the gamut from comedies and dramas to documentary series and sci-fi anthologies. Many of the shows are spearheaded or include high-profile actors, producers or directors.
But what has, thus far, remained a mystery is how Apple will distribute or market this content. While the company has released a few previous shows on Apple Music, that platform really isn’t the most conducive to full-scale TV offerings.
Now, it seems, at least one plan may be to package the TV programs with other digital content — a move that echoes platforms like Amazon Prime, which includes a range of digital content under one price tag.
Still, it’s not readily clear when Apple will launch the combination subscription service, or how much the bundle will cost.
But The Information added that Apple may kick off its new subscription model with the launch of a digital news service next year. That platform would see the Apple News app combined with magazine subscriptions — something that’s been rumored since Apple acquired Texture back in March. Bloomberg reported a similar development in April.
For context, Texture could be called the “Netflix” of magazine subscriptions. Users can get unlimited digital access to issues of more than 200 magazines for a single monthly fee.
But even if TV content is bundled with digital news and Apple Music, The Information’s sources indicated that the offerings could still be available as standalone subscriptions. That at least hints at a TV content-focused subscription akin to Hulu or Netflix.
There’s also the possibility that Apple could release some of the original TV programming for free or as an Apple Music perk initially, before including it in a paid bundle.
Of course, the publication’s sources added that “the discussions at Apple are still ongoing about what the subscription service ultimately will look like and could change.” In other words, nothing is set in stone quite yet.
Apple has tried to put together a subscription streaming platform before. That platform, which relied on third-party content, never materialized. In the wake of that, Apple seems to have switched its strategy to producing the content itself.
Previous rumors suggest that the first of Apple’s TV content could roll out in the first half of 2019. If that forecast is accurate, it could give us a rough timeline about when to expect a news or bundled subscription.