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One Number Swirling Around Apple TV Plus Is Just Massive

Company reportedly paying more than $15M an episode for star-studded 'Morning Show'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2019 12:41 PM CDT

(Newser) – Apple wants to move well beyond gadgets with a Netflix-like streaming service, and details are dribbling out ahead of the expected fall release of Apple TV Plus. Lots of questions remain about the particulars of what Apple will be offering, and CEO Tim Cook hasn't filled in many details about his pledge to provide a service "unlike anything that's been done before." Here's a look at what's being reported this week:

  • The price: Bloomberg reports that Apple is considering a price of $9.99 a month when the TV and movie subscription service debuts in November. It predicts that Apple will have a "small selection of shows" initially, before expanding the catalog in the following months.
  • Big investment: The Financial Times says Apple initially planned to invest $1 billion in original programming but has expanded that to $6 billion. The big one is The Morning Show, with Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell. The FT has this surprising nugget: Given those big names, the show will have a higher price-per-episode than the final season of Game of Thrones, whose episodes cost a reported $15 million each.

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  • A peek: See a trailer for The Morning Show here. Other big shows in the mix will be the anthology series Amazing Stories from Steven Spielberg, the sci-fi drama See starring Aquaman's Jason Momoa, and the cartoon musical Central Park from the creator of Bob's Burgers, reports CNET. Oprah Winfrey (including live book club shows) and JJ Abrams will be other contributors.
  • Crowded field: Apple won't just be competing against Netflix and other streaming mainstays. Disney Plus is launching around the same time for $6.99, notes the Verge. Disney will also offer a bundle that adds Hulu and ESPN; the details on what kind of bundles Apple will have, if any, remain under wraps.
  • The big plan? NBC's Dylan Byers writes that he's skeptical about the figure of $6 billion for original programming. He thinks it's much less, but says the exact figure doesn't matter much. Apple can spend how ever much it wants at a moment's notice. The company "is in a different business than Netflix, Disney or HBO," writes Byers. "It's investing in original video not as an end, but as a means to draw consumers further into the Apple universe and keep them on the iPhone." The "grand plan," in his view, "is to bundle its video offering (which will include outside channels like HBO and Showtime) with other services like Apple Music, Apple Arcade, iCloud, etc., and sell consumers on a full package."
  • Nuts and bolts: CNET says Apple TV Plus will be available on all Apple devices with the revamped Apple TV app. But it expects Plus to be on rivals' devices, too, including Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and various smart TVs. The service will have no ads. The CNET primer adds this observation on the company's motivation: "Apple is taking aim at original video because it could be a crucial enticement for people to buy more iPhones and other gadgets."
(Read more Apple stories.)

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