Apple mulls subscription bundle of Apple Music, News and original video content, report says
Apple is reportedly mulling a subscription bundle that incorporates the company's existing services, namely Apple Music and products sold through the News platform, with a slate of original TV shows widely rumored to be in production.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, The Information reports Apple is looking to present users with a comprehensive subscription service that would rival similar plans marketed by Amazon and, to some extent, Netflix.
Currently, Apple's subscription lineup is relegated to digital solutions like iCloud storage and Apple Music, the latter of which plays host to the company's two original TV shows, "Planet of the Apps" and "Carpool Karaoke: The Series." The tech giant could expand on the offering by lumping music in with additional products like original video content and an expected news subscription service.
As a first step, Apple is anticipated to launch a news subscription product next year, the report said. Details are not available at this point, but reports suggest Apple will fold assets acquired through its purchase of Texture into Apple News.
Announced in May, the Texture buy opens the door to a slice of digital magazine subscription revenue. The service, sometimes referred to as the "Netflix of Magazines," is still operational and offers customers access to more than 200 monthly titles for $9.99 a month, but that would undoubtedly change once Apple's branded service rolls out.
Following its introduction of a for-pay news product, Apple could create a services bundle that includes as-yet-unreleased video content and Apple Music, the report said. Sources added that customers would likely be able to sign up for the three services separately.
As noted by The Information, a services bundle would begin to answer questions as to how Apple intends to monetize a growing slate of original TV shows, series and other content being created by its Worldwide Video division. Apple is reportedly spending some $1 billion on the video effort and has lined up exclusives with J.J. Abrams, Jennifer Aniston, M. Night Shyamalan, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and other big Hollywood names.
Prior speculation pushed a narrative that original content would be distributed through Apple Music, while others believed the company would build a subscription tier into the TV app. According to the report, Apple could air a portion of its original programming for free before bundling it with music and news.
A timeline for launch is unknown, as are pricing details, but if Apple does elect to bundle its media products, it could lead to a boom in the company's already thriving services arm.
For the last fiscal quarter, Apple's services business — App Store, Apple Music, iCloud, Apple Pay, AppleCare and licensing — generated $9.19 billion, up 31 percent year over year. In May, CEO Tim Cook confirmed Apple Music counted more than 50 million users across paid and trial subscriptions.