Bottom line: Nothing has been formally announced as of this writing but if Bloomberg’s sources prove accurate, it’d serve as an admission by Apple that to have a successful streaming service, you need a good mix of both original and legacy content.
Apple is reportedly looking to build out its Apple TV content library with older movies and television shows to better compete with the likes of Netflix, Disney and Hulu.
Apple launched its streaming service late last year backed by a star-studded ensemble appearing in original content. The company vowed to add new material on a regular basis and was likely on track to do just that but opted to suspend all filming in mid-March to comply with Covid-19 containment efforts.
Instead of build out a back catalog of content, Apple elected to team up with media partners on subscription offerings for access to premium networks like Showtime, HBO and Starz.
The strategy was met with mixed results. People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Apple TV had signed up about 10 million users by February but only around half were actively using the service. By comparison, Disney , which launched around the same time, had amassed over 50 million subscribers by early April. And although it has a significant lead time, Netflix had just shy of 183 million global subscribers at the end of the first quarter.
To help shore up its offering, Apple is fielding pitches from Hollywood studios with regard to licensing older content. The company has already bought the rights to some shows and movies but hasn’t yet scored any massive franchises or blockbusters just yet, sources said.