Report: Apple’s video streaming service to launch this spring

Apple’s new streaming service is poised to launch this spring, according to The Information, citing three unnamed sources. Tucked away in a report about Amazon’s plans to dial down its efforts with its subscription video offering, The Information noted that Apple has been telling entertainment partners to be ready for a mid-April launch for the streaming service. But the report also said the actual launch date could be within several weeks of that time frame.

A spring launch date would fall in line with earlier reports, which said Apple’s video streaming service would launch in the first half of 2019.

Apple CEO Tim Cook also vaguely confirmed its plans in this area, when speaking with CNBC earlier this month. He said that Apple would announce “material” new additions to its line of service offerings this year. These could include the upcoming news and magazine subscription service, which is also rumored for a spring arrival, and possibly new services in the health space.

Apple has been gearing up for its streaming service for some time, acquiring rights and making deals for a number of TV shows and movies — it even just brokered its first movie deal at Sundance 2019 on Monday.

However, Apple’s original content may not be the only thing to watch on the new service.

Apple may include an Amazon Channels-like offering as a part of its video service, the new report said. This, too, has been claimed previously by both Bloomberg and CNBC.

This Amazon Channels-like model has been copied throughout the competitive streaming market because of the low overhead and the big cut Amazon and Roku take on subscription sales — around 30 percent, The Information says.

For example, Roku this week launched its own video subscriptions in The Roku ChannelSling TV rolled out a selection of premium à la carte channels last year; and media center software maker Plex aims to do the same in 2019. Walmart had been rumored to be entering this market via Vudu, its video marketplace that’s now its key focus for competing on streaming.

Even Facebook is considering an Amazon Channels-like offering, the report said.

Apple’s decision to move forward with a spring — or possibly, even mid-April — launch date would see its service going head-to-head with Disney+, the Disney-owned Netflix competitor that will be shown off to investors on April 11.

But what’s still unclear is how Apple will be marketing and selling its streaming offering — reports have varied on this front, claiming everything from a bundle with Apple Music and news to being entirely free.