A report from Bloomberg this morning indicates that Apple is planning to launch the TV service with little of its own original content TV shows, which are still in development and targeting a fall launch ‘at the earliest’.
Bloomberg says Apple is rushing to finalize deals with networks like HBO, Showtime and Starz ahead of the March 25 event. There is apparently a Friday deadline, with Apple ‘offering concessions’ to secure deals. The report also implies that Apple will debut its new Apple credit card offering on stage, alongside the TV and magazine/news subscription service.
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The report says Apple has invited payment industry journalists to the event, heavily suggesting that the credit card project will feature. The Apple credit card is apparently codenamed ‘Project Cookie’.
Bloomberg unsurprisingly describes the Apple News subscription as a similar product to Texture, with customers able to access a bundle of current newspapers and magazine issues. The report says Apple intends to sell the TV and news service separately but it is possible Apple could offer a discount if a customer buys into multiple services. It’s unclear if Apple Music would be rolled into that promotion.
As usual with deals like this, Apple and its TV partners are negotiating up to the last minute on terms:
HBO, Showtime and Starz are among the most-popular premium cable TV networks and all expect to reach a deal with the company, according to the people. But they’re still haggling over various points, including marketing, promotion and the user experience.
The fact that Apple will launch its TV service with mostly content from external partners makes for an interesting twist in the narrative of the rumor mill. The focus of reporting has been on Apple’s original content but today’s Bloomberg report pits programming from existing cable networks as a critical part of the offering.
Apple has dozens of its own TV shows in development or in the planning stages, but only a few appear to be complete and ready to air.