Apple To Give Away Original Content For Free Via New Digital Video Service

Apple plans to give away its original content for free. A CNBC report has revealed that the Silicon Valley company will make its original content available without costs to users of its devices.

Citing people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named, the report said that Apple is preparing a new digital video service that will merge original content and subscription services from legacy media companies.

Owners of Apple devices such as iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV will be able to find the service, which is still under development, in their pre-installed TV application.

The service will have Apple-owner content, which will be available for free to owners of Apple devices, and subscription channels that will allow users to sign up for online-only services such as those from Starz and HBO.

The company is reportedly planning to debut the updated TV app early in 2019.

The report did not mention if the service will also be available on non-Apple devices and if the company would require pay from consumers watching from a computer, Android, or other devices. Subscription for outsiders is nonetheless likely possible in the future.

The company is spending about $1 billion on original content this year, particularly shows aimed for wide audiences. These PG-rated content won't get Apple in trouble should it make them available for free to owners of all devices.

Apple store logo Pedestrians walk by an Apple Store in San Francisco, California
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

The report noted that the company is gearing for a franchise that gives subscribers enough reason to pay for a monthly fee, just as what Stranger Things does for Netflix and Game of Thrones does for HBO. This could mean that while Apple would initially make its PG-rated shows for free in the TV app, it could still offer consumers additional subscription service down the line.

"Apple is also looking for "tent pole" franchises that could serve as linchpins to a paid Netflix-like subscription service down the road," CNBC said, citing two people familiar with the matter. "Think Game of Thrones, but without the sex and violence."

This is not the first time news surfaced about Apple's plans to expand its TV application. In May, Bloomberg also reported that Apple would upgrade its TV app with subscription features, allowing customers to access their content from within the app and without the need to download individuals apps from multimedia providers.

The new report, however, added the detail that Apple's own original content will be available in the revamped TV app at no additional cost.