March 25, 2019 / 8:13 PM / a month ago

Apple TV+ joins crowded market for streaming options

    By Helen Coster
    March 25 (Reuters) - Apple Inc          unveiled its Apple
TV+ original content streaming service and Apple TV Channels
subscription service on Monday without a price tag, making it
difficult to evaluate how the new ventures will stack up to
Netflix Inc          and other competitors. 
    The Apple TV+ service features original content from 
Hollywood heavyweights like Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and M.
Night Shyamalan and will launch this fall. It will be ad-free
and available on Apple devices as well as other platforms such
as Roku and Amazon Fire TV. 
    But Apple did not announce pricing or confirm whether the
new service would be available on Android devices.
    In addition to Apple TV+, in May Apple is launching Apple TV
Channels, which will allow users to subscribe to individual
streaming services. 
    Apple TV Channels include HBO, Showtime, Starz and others,
and will live inside the company's newly designed Apple TV app.
Notably, Apple TV Channels excludes Netflix content. 
     Apple does not yet offer a discounted bundle of other
companies’ streaming services. That would have given it an edge
over Amazon.com Inc         , which through its Prime Video
Channels allows Prime members to subscribe to individual
streaming services at full price.
    Like Apple, Amazon is making a push into original
programming as a way to sell other services. But Prime Video
viewers also get the benefits of the fast Amazon order delivery
and other perks that come with Prime membership, so may be
unlikely to scrap that service for Apple. 
    And unlike Hulu and Netflix, Apple TV+ will not come stocked
with a library of popular broadcast shows. Netflix is said to
have paid $100 million to continue licensing the NBC hit series
“Friends,” which is reportedly its second-most-watched show.
Hulu, starting at $5.99 a month, streams classic series like
“Seinfeld” as well as current shows. 
    Walt Disney Co         is also jumping into the streaming
war with Disney+, a streaming service armed with the entire
library of Walt Disney Studios’ theatrical releases and
Disney-branded television shows as well as new, exclusive
content.
    Dsney has also suggested it could bundle Disney+ with ESPN+
and Hulu, of which it owns a majority stake after its
acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets.
    Apple TV+ will be competing in the children's programming
space with new programming in partnership with the Sesame Street
Workshop.       

 (Reporting by Helen Coster)
  
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