Apple is reportedly looking into packaging HBO, Showtime and Starz together to sell them as a single premium channel bundle.
According to Recode, Apple is seeking permission to sell a premium bundle not unlike the packages offered by many pay-TV operators, though, of course, through Apple, consumers would not be required to get pay-TV service first.
Showtime’s direct-to-consumer app is $11.99 per month, HBO Now is $14.99 per month, and Starz is $8.99 per month. All together, buying each service separately would cost about $36 per month. The report does not uncover how much Apple would charge for a bundle containing all three services, but it’s likely the rate would be reduced.
Pay-TV operators like Charter package together premium channels as add-on tiers to traditional service. At Charter, $20 extra per month gets subscribers access to HBO, Showtime and Cinemax, along with more than 50 additional linear TV channels. For another $20 per month on top of that, Charter subscribers can get Starz, Encore and Epix added to the mix and have access to more than 200 channels.
For Apple, the reported pursuit of a premium channel bundle is the latest effort from the tech giant to jump into the streaming video and content markets. Apple has reportedly long since given up on its aspirations to offer a live TV service, and the virtual MVPD market keeps getting more crowded even without Apple, as both Comcast and Verizon are the latest companies that are apparently aiming at offering livestreaming TV.
But Apple could still be going after original video content. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is in talks with producers and marketers from studios about licensing series and offering them to customers as part of its $10/month streaming music service. Apple reportedly wants to begin offering original scripted content by the end of the year.
Those aspirations would fit with comments Apple CEO Tim Cook made recently about his company still wanting to make an impact on the TV and video industry.
“I would confirm that television has intense interest with me and many other people here,” said Cook, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. “In terms of owning content and creating content, we have started with focusing on some original content, as you point out. We've got a few things going there that we've talked about. And I think it's a great opportunity for us both from a creation point of view and an ownership point of view. And so it's an area that we're focused on.”