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Published on January 29th, 2019 | by Brad Gibson

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On flat profits, Apple’s Tim Cook gives more hints of its future TV service plans

Apple reported earnings for its December quarter Tuesday saying that profits were flat and revenues were down because of slumping iPhone sales, mainly in China. To paint a more rosy picture for the future, Apple CEO Tim Cook took the opportunity to reveal small tidbits of its future plans for a streaming entertainment service and reveal his thoughts on the changing landscape of the broadcast and entertainment industry.

Cook confirmed Apple plans to be part of what he sees as “huge changes” taking place in how consumers devour video content. He confirmed Apple will sell third-party subscription content through its Apple TV device as habits change and customers start to become ‘cord cutters’ and buyers of individual services instead of bundles of channels.

“W\e see huge changes in customer behavior taking place now,” he commented. “And 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. I think that it’ll likely take place at a much faster pace this year.”

Cook said Apple plans to “participate” in those viewing changes in a variety of ways beginning with Apple TV, followed by expansion of AirPplay 2 through various third-party devices, including televisions.

“Another way is, of course, all the third-party video subscriptions that are on the store,” Cook said. “We are participating in this today. And I would guess that that’s going to accelerate into the future as the bundle breaks down and people begin to buy likely multiple services in place of their current cable bundle.”

Cook expanded on Apple’s plans for “original content” commenting that while it’s not ready to reveal specific content plans, “we’ve hired some great people that I have a super amount of confidence in and they’re working really hard and we’ll have something to say more on that later.”

Cook would not confirm when it plans to reveal further details on its streaming service plans. Various reports have given credence that Apple plans a mid-April launch.

A mid-April launch mirrors a previous report by Bloomberg in May of last year that Apple would start selling third-party subscriptions to services like HBO, NBC League Pass, Starz, and others through its TV app in 2019, similar to how Amazon sells those same services at present on its web site and Fire Stick streaming device.

If the report proves true, Apple is planning to roll out a streaming service next 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 BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the Associated Press and United Press International.



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