Apple continues its selective content partner rollout today with an update to Apple TV software that adds Vevo, as previously rumored, as well as Disney Channel, Disney XD, The Weather Channel and Smithsonian via new dedicated apps, as 9to5Mac reports. All those content providers are live in the U.S., but U.K. users and other regions will see only select channels via update.
The Apple TV update actually marks the first time that Apple has provided weather information on the Apple TV, something which now seems like a long overdue addition to the platform. With that addition, the Apple TV starts to take on more of a general services dashboard tone, in addition to its video and entertainment content sources.
Vevo was rumored to have been preparing a dedicated Apple TV application last week, the Wall Street Journal reported, which is part of its efforts to distribute content from its network more widely outside of YouTube, which currently powers a huge share of its views through a licensing agreement between the music industry joint venture and Google.
Disney content appearing on Apple TV via dedicated channels is also something that isn’t all that surprising, considering the cozy relationship that exists between Disney and the Mac maker. Disney CEO Bob Iger sits on Apple’s board, and Steve Jobs famously sold computer animation studio Pixar to Disney. Disney has been a strong, longtime partner for the iTunes media store, as well.
Apple building out content relationships for Apple TV seems to be the way the company prefers to welcome third-party material to the platform, rather than via opening up an API and providing an application store as it has done on iOS. The new partnerships today could help boost the device’s appeal among the teen set, as well as with younger kids thanks to Disney and Disney XD, and overall more content sources = a wider potential audience, but Apple clearly wants to make sure that new content sources also fit with its overall vision for a home media streaming device.
Rumors of a dedicated Apple television, or of a new next-gen media streamer launching later this year continue to swirl, so a staged content buildup could have something to do with those plans, too.