As the content wars rage on and various other entities attempt to remain competitive against the all-encompassing Netflix, everyone’s had their eye on Apple. If any company could directly take on Netflix, it’s Apple, which boasts a ton of money in hand. Indeed, the biggest issue facing a lot of Netflix competitors has been how one could possibly contend with the streaming service on a pure spending level—Netflix is spending like crazy to bring in all kinds of talent to create an insane amount of original content.
Apple has been announcing press releases for some time about original TV series and films that it’s developing, but for each major announcement, we still had no idea how Apple intended to release this content. Until now. With production now getting underway on a number of original Apple series, we’re now ready to learn how this rollout will work.
Per Bloomberg, Apple’s new digital video service will marry original content and subscription services from legacy media companies. This service will be available in the pre-installed “TV” app on Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Owners of these devices will be able to watch all Apple-owned content for free through this app, and then they have the option of adding subscription “channels” which will allow customers to sign up for VOD services like HBO and Starz so their content will all be in one place.
So yes, the plan right now it seems is for Apple’s original TV shows and films to be available to watch for free to anyone who owns an appropriate Apple device—although given Apple’s track record, you can probably bet that you’ll need an “upgraded” version of said devices for this service to work properly. This is quite similar to how Amazon’s streaming service works.
Apple plans to unveil the revamped TV app early next year per Bloomberg, but since all of this original content will be free, they’re reportedly looking for PG-rated content that will appeal to wide audiences. This is so that Apple won’t field complaints or outrage from users who don’t want Game of Thrones-level violence and nudity readily available on their devices.
Indeed, it was previously reported that this was happening, as Apple replaced the showrunner on Steven Spielberg’s revamped Amazing Stories when the show got “too dark” and has also retooled the upcoming series from Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. Apple has some major shows in the works from big talent like Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games), Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians), and Damien Chazelle (La La Land), but it appears filmmakers and talent won’t find the same Netflix-level of creative freedom at Apple.
This is actually pretty smart of Apple, however. By creating a library of entirely family friendly content, Apple can stand apart from Netflix as something different. There’s also Disney’s own streaming service coming next fall that will prove competitive, but Apple’s move away from the kind of R-rated content that seems to flourish on Netflix is a curious decision.
None of the above has been confirmed just yet so it’s possible Bloomberg has some details wrong or Apple will tweak things as they begin their rollout, but it’s fascinating to hear some of the first details about what many in the industry have dubbed the “Netflix killer.” Hold on to your butts. The streaming wars have just begun.