A new report from CNBC yesterday reveals that Apple may actually be planning to give away much of its original content for free to its customers through the Apple TV and iOS “TV” app. Citing people familiar with the matter, the report notes that the service will be found in the TV app, which comes as little surprise, but they added that the revamped app would debut early next year with Apple-owned content made available “free to Apple device owners.” Sources also noted the service would include subscription “channels” that would allow customers to sign up for online services such as those from HBO and Starz, but do so independently of those services’ own iOS and tvOS apps.
Apple has been making a strong push into producing original content for a new video service, but most have expected the company to launch a more traditional subscription service akin to Netflix or Amazon Prime. However, Apple’s plans to make the content available for free may also help to explain the company’s focused efforts on finding “PG-rated” shows that will have broad appeal and be inoffensive enough to be presented freely across Apple’s entire device ecosystem. It appears, however, that Apple isn’t ruling out a more traditional paid subscription service down the road, with sources suggesting that the some of the bigger projects that Apple has been seeking could serve as anchors to draw in subscribers to a paid service, and some of the company’s more ambitious undertakings, such as developing a series based on Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, could certainly fit the bill.