Apple has hinted that on March 25, it will launch its streaming service to rival Netflix. Press agencies from around the world were invited to the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, CA for a “special event” taking place at Apple’s corporate headquarters. A gif was revealed with a countdown and a caption of “It’s Show Time.”
The announcement coincides with Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal’s reports that hinted that Apple was close to releasing news and video subscription services. According to Bloomberg, several big time Hollywood names including Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and JJ Abrams were going to be at the event on March 25.
CNBC had been in front of reports as early as February that Apple would be launching its own video services by May. Netflix, Hulu and other streaming companies were not going to be featured on the as yet unnamed platform.
The service, as of now, doesn’t have any logos or branding. There have been hints that CBS, Viacom, and Starz will be offered, with HBO being considered as well but to date, these are just rumors.
Apple Insider reports that Apple is already developing TV shows. Taika Waititi, director of Thor: Ragnarok, is rumored to be directing an adaptation of Time Bandits while M. Night Shyamalan is reportedly creating a new psychological thriller.
Steve Carell, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston are allegedly starring in a new drama series while in 2018, Oprah Winfrey and Apple formed a partnership for a platform that would “make original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world.”
Apple briefly explained that the deal was a multi-year partnership that would cover many genres of content, and that the content was slated to be released as original programming from Apple.
The Wall Street Journal had reported in 2017 that Apple had signed on with studios that had links to Steven Spielberg, allegedly to reboot the hit 1980’s science fiction series, Amazing Stories. Steven Spielberg accepted the role of executive producer for a ten-episode run of the series.
December of 2018, it was reported that Jennifer Garner would be starring in an Apple series produced by JJ Abrams, director of Mission: Impossible and Star Wars. In January of 2019, Apple purchased a Bill Murray/Sofia Coppola feature film.
Bloomberg claims that Apple had been looking at subscription services as a way to recoup losses from its iPhone sales. The platform will be led by Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, both ex-Sony Pictures executives. The streaming service appears to be integrated with the Apple TV app.
In a January earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook explained
“We see huge changes in customer behavior taking place now. We think that it will accelerate as the year goes by to sort of breakdown of the cable bundle that’s been talked about for years. And I think that it’ll likely take place at a much faster pace this year. And so we’re going to participate in that in a variety of ways.”
Apple’s video services, backed by a $1 billion investment in 2017, has several unknowns such as their price tag and the need for a new device to watch them.