News Photo of fourth-generation Apple TV set-top box with remote

Published on February 13th, 2019 | by Brad Gibson


Apple shooting for an April or May streaming video service launch, sources tell CNBC

Apple is planning to launch its rumored streaming television service in April or May with premium TV app subscriptions from some popular cable networks not yet signing on, according to a report Wednesday by CNBC.

Apple is reportedly in the final stages of preparation ahead of a launch, with HBO – owned by AT&T – possibly not participating because of disagreements over a revenue sharing scheme. Starz, Showtime, and Viacom are expected to offer subscriptions through Apple’s platform. Hulu and Netflix are not expected to participate top be services sold through the new Apple platform, the report said.

HBO may join the service but isn’t as far along in discussions with Apple, one of the people said. Apple hasn’t offered HBO the same terms that it offered Amazon for adding Prime Video as a channel, according to a source.

Recent rumors have suggested the service will be similar to the premium TV app subscription model started by Amazon and mirrored by Roku that lets consumer sign up with various services  – or ‘channels’ – then viewed and streamed through a device like Apple TV. Additional rumors are that Apple’s own original content, which will be provided to Apple users for free, will be part of the service.

Apple is negotiating a 30 percent cut on every subscription that originates from its TV service, CNBC reported. That is higher than the 15 percent commission Apple gets when customers sign up for services like Amazon Prime Video through the App Store.

The CNBC report is similar to a report from The Information in late January, which suggested Apple was telling content partners to be prepared for a mid-April launch of the service.

If the report proves true, Apple is planning to roll out a streaming service this year in more than 100 countries that include a bundle of other services like Apple Music and an Apple News subscription that might include Texture, the magazine service that it purchased back in March.

Original television content created by Apple could be made available for free to those with an Apple TV and other Apple portable devices. Apple reportedly is also negotiating deals to provide access to subscription channels like HBO, Starz, and Showtime, similar to the way third-party content is sold through Amazon.

For its streaming service, Apple has more than 18 original television shows in the works, and it has signed a deal to produce movies with the Oscar-winning studio A24 Films.


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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as,,,, and He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the AOL, the BBC, Associated Press, and United Press International.

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