Thursday 25 April 2019

Apple unveils TV streaming service backed by host of A-listers

Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey were among the talents at the launch event.

Tim Cook unveils Apple TV+ (Apple/PA)
Tim Cook unveils Apple TV+ (Apple/PA)

By Jamie Harris, Press Association Science Technology Reporter

Apple has unveiled its own TV and movie streaming subscription service, joining juggernauts Netflix and Amazon Prime for a slice of the lucrative streaming business.

Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Momoa and Oprah Winfrey attended the event to talk about their original projects that will appear on Apple TV+.

“I’m so grateful to be here today,” Spielberg said.

“This is my first time at Apple, the place where imagination and technology join forces.”

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Oprah Winfrey on stage during the launch of Apple TV+ (Apple/PA)

Witherspoon and Aniston were joined by Steve Carell to reveal details about their series, while Momoa will work with Alfre Woodard on a project called See.

“Today we’re excited to extend our services even further to make them even more entertaining, more useful and more informative,” said Apple chief executive Tim Cook at an event held at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco.

Apple TV+ is set to launch in more than 100 countries in autumn and will be available within the existing Apple TV app.

Users will also be able to access content from other channels and providers, such as HBO and Amazon Prime.

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Tim Cook unveils Apple TV+ (Apple/PA)

The streaming video entertainment sector is becoming ever more competitive, with Disney and WarnerMedia currently working on their own plans.

Meanwhile, in the UK, traditional broadcasters are stepping up their efforts, with the BBC and ITV announcing plans to collaborate on a joint subscription-based streaming service called BritBox, featuring new commissions, recent shows and old British favourites.

Apple also announced a new subscription-based magazine service, with access to more than 300 US magazines for 9.99 dollars (£7.58) per month – a UK launch is set to follow in autumn – as well as Apple Arcade, a subscription gaming platform for mobile, desktop and living room, with over 100 new and exclusive games that will also be released in autumn.

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Tim Cook reveals Apple News+ (Apple/PA)

Apple TV+ also comes amid a shift in the company’s profit, moving towards services instead of relying on hardware sales.

Its star product, the iPhone, remains a triumph but recent numbers have shown a fall in demand, while its services, which include its Apple Music streaming app, are growing.

The last quarterly results revealed that revenue from its services business jumped 19%, from 9.1 billion dollars (£7 billion) to 10.9 billion dollars (£8.3 billion) year-on-year.

Apple will be hoping to emulate the success of Apple Music, which has gained more than 50 million subscribers since launching in 2015 and is closing in on market leader Spotify.

Press Association

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