Even Apple’s partners don’t know what its streaming TV service will cost

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AirPlay 2
You’ll be able to subscribe to HBO through the Apple TV service but HBO doesn’t know what it’ll cost.
Photo: Apple

If you’re curious about the cost of the Apple TV service set to debut on Monday, you’re in good company: apparently, the media companies that will provide much of the content are almost equally in the dark. 

Still, they think they might know something about Apple’s plans, and it’s good news for users of iPhone, iPad or Mac.

Apple keeping important details under wraps

JPMorgan analyst Alexia Quadrani tried to ferret out Apple’s intentions ahead of the press event  scheduled for March 25 with very limited success: “While we met with several companies participating in Apple’s upcoming video service, none seemed to have a clear sense of what will exactly be announced on Monday,” she wrote in a note to investors. 

That can’t be said of everything related to the upcoming Apple TV service. Quite a bit has already leaked out, like descriptions of its original programs, plus that fact that partnerships with HBO, Showtime and others will play a significant role.

Apple TV: some free, some paid

But there’s at least one huge remaining question: what Apple will charge for its streaming TV service. 

Quadrani has a partial answer based on her discussions with media companies: “There is some consensus however that the product will include free original content plus a number of channels that consumers can purchase or view in one app using a single sign-on.”

If true, it means Apple‘s only source of revenue for its new video service might be be a share of the subscription fees paid for other services, like CBS All Access, Starz, etc. There reportedly will be no commercials.

Apple TV for Android or Windows? 

Analyst Tim Nollen from Macquarie weighed in on another important question, whether the Apple TV service  will be available on non-Apple devices or exclusive to computers running iOS, macOS and tvOS. 

“Precedent set by Apple Music would support the former alongside any demands from talent for wider distribution, and making the service available on Android, desktop, and Smart TVs may help drive subs in the near term,” he said in a note to investors. 

However, Nollen and other Macquarie analysts said they “wouldn’t be surprised” if the service is Apple only.

At the very least, recent agreements with TV makers to build in support for AirPlay means shows can be streamed to a variety of large screens. Roku might be included as well.

Via: CNBC and AppleInsider