Apple’s video service may launch without HBO and Netflix support

 theverge.com  02/13/2019 19:47:17  2  Jacob Kastrenakes
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Apple’s upcoming TV service is supposed to let viewers bundle together their favorite networks, but according to CNBC, Netflix isn’t on board with the plan and HBO may not be either.

The streaming service, which CNBC says could launch in April or early May, will be centered around Apple’s own original shows and movies. At least some of those titles will be made available for free to Apple device owners, CNBC previously reported.

But Apple’s ambition is to create something larger than just a home for its own content: it’s still trying to build the dream of an all-encompassing TV app, which can pull together shows and movies from all the services you subscribe to, making it really easy to find something to watch. Apple has been trying to build this for a couple years now by allowing people to log in to their existing subscriptions, but some services, like Netflix, have declined to support it.

The way CNBC describes it, Apple’s service may not be hugely different than what’s available now. The key change would be that you’re now able to sign up for these services directly through the TV app — and therefore directly through Apple — rather than going through these services’ own apps. The TV app is preinstalled on all new iPhones and iPads, giving it much more exposure.

Apple is reportedly trying to negotiate a higher cut from subscription fees when viewers sign up this way. Major networks and streaming services supposedly pay Apple just 15 percent in some cases, but Apple reportedly wants to get them back up to 30 percent — the same cut it takes from most other apps during the first year a subscriber pays for them.

Starz, CBS, and Viacom have signed on to sell through the app, according to CNBC. It’s not entirely clear why Netflix and HBO may be bailing, but there’s an easy guess: the cut is just too high. Netflix has already stopped allowing customers to sign up through the App Store, so that it can stop losing money to Apple. HBO, the report indicates, is getting a better deal from Amazon and seems to be hoping Apple will lower its request.

Apple will hold an event on March 25th to announce a subscription news service, BuzzFeed News reported yesterday. New hardware isn’t expected, and there’s no word yet on whether the TV service could make an appearance.

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