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Apple reverses course, will add back catalog of third-party movies and TV shows to its TV Plus streaming service

Apple originally envisioned TV Plus as an original-content-only service. However, that strategy seems to have failed to compete against the like of Netflix and Disney Plus.

Apple reverses course, will add back catalog of third-party movies and TV shows to its TV Plus streaming service
From Dickinson. [Photo: courtesy of Apple TV Plus]

Apple is in the midst of a major about-face in regards to its video streaming service, Apple TV Plus. According to Bloomberg, Apple is now actively seeking to acquire a back catalog of third-party content for the service so it can better compete with existing heavyweights like Netflix and newcomer Disney Plus.

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Bloomberg says that Apple’s video-programming executives have already bought some movies and television shows from Hollywood studios and has also received pitches from others about licensing more of their content. It’s unknown what studios Apple has dealt with and what third-party content they’ve already acquired the licensing rights to.

Apple TV Plus launched in November of last year and represented a major step in the company’s growing services ambitions. However, TV Plus has seen slow uptake with viewers, despite Apple giving a year of the service free with major Apple hardware purchases.

Part of that reason is that the service has so few pieces of content, with fewer than 30 shows and movies as of May 2020. The reason for that is because Apple originally envisioned TV Plus as an original-content-only service. However, that strategy seems to have failed. Out of TV Plus’s estimated 10 million subscribers, Bloomberg says only about half of those people regularly use the service.

Compare that with the over 50 million subscribers Disney Plus has garnered since its launch just two weeks after Apple TV Plus’s debut in November. Like Netflix, Disney Plus has thousands of back catalog shows and movies.

There’s no word on when Apple will add licensed third-party content to Apple TV Plus, nor whether it will increase the relatively cheap $4.99/month subscription fee when it does.

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