Apple reportedly wants its TV app to be more like Amazon Channels

Apple TV
If Apple’s reported plans for the TV app sound familiar, it’s because Amazon has already been doing that exact thing since 2015. (Apple)

Apple is reportedly planning an update for its TV app to allow users to subscribe to services directly through the app rather than having to purchase them individually.

According to Bloomberg, Apple will turn on the feature in its TV app for certain video services. Apple’s TV app currently serves as an aggregator for streaming services on a consumer’s Apple TV or iOS device, surfacing relevant shows from apps including HBO and Hulu.

The possibility of making the TV app easier to use for consumers who subscribe to or use multiple streaming services comes as Apple is building up its own lineup of original content. The company has yet to reveal how any of its original content will be distributed to consumers.

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If Apple’s reported plans for the TV app sound familiar, it’s because Amazon has already been doing that exact thing since 2015. Through Amazon Channels, which is available to Amazon Prime subscribers, users can subscribe to and access multiple video services in one centralized hub. Amazon Channels recently added CBS All Access, which got the service closer to being on par with traditional TV and virtual MVPDs by providing some access to local channels.

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“As the first Amazon Channels partner to offer a linear feed of a subscriber’s local broadcast station in addition to video on demand, we’re thrilled to bring live programming to Prime members,” said Rob Gelick, senior vice president and general manager of Digital Platforms at CBS Interactive, in a statement.

Programmers like Starz have given Amazon Channels a lot of credit for helping increase their OTT subscriber totals. Last year, BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield estimated that large portions of subscribers for services like HBO Now and Showtime were coming from Amazon Channels, but worried about the possible tradeoff for programmers.

“While it is phenomenal that premium channels such as HBO, Showtime and Starz are adding paying subscribers, they are not building a direct-to-consumer relationship. Amazon controls the data, consumers are using Amazon’s apps and maybe worst of all, Amazon is learning what shows interest consumers the most and is building their own video service utilizing that data to compete with the third-party channels they offer,” Greenfield wrote.