Apple Inc. is in the process of buying older movies and television shows to expand its TV+ streaming catalog. The company hopes to make itself more appealing to consumers attracted to the large content libraries provided by other streaming services, such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, according to Bloomberg.
The article stated that a few people close to the company confirmed Apple had already purchased new content to add to their catalog as part of a strategy shift, but that they still had not yet invested in any major franchises or blockbuster films. Other streaming services have always had a mixture of original programming and older content from other networks.
One of the biggest draws to Netflix has always been its catalog with popular sitcoms like The Office and Friends available to stream in full alongside thousands of other titles.
While both of the sitcoms mentioned above will soon vacate the service for NBC's Peacock and HBO Max, Netflix has already picked up the slack by purchasing the rights to Seinfeld. Apple has not yet invested in a significant staple property for their back catalog.
Thus far, Apple TV+ only has about 10 million subscribers, with only about half being active users. The streamer's most prestigious projects thus far are The Morning Show, starring Steve Carrell, Jennifer Aniston, and Reese Witherspoon, and legal thriller Defending Jacob, starring Chris Evans.
That said, while Apple TV+ is lacking in content compared to its competitors, it is also much cheaper, costing only $4.99 a month, with people who purchase Apple products getting a year free. By comparison, Netflix's most affordable plan costs $12.99 a month with its HD option costing $15.99.
Bloomberg noted that we do not know how much money Apple is making from its relatively new streaming service, which just launched last November. They appeared to be banking on people investing in the service on the weight of their original shows and the chance to get subscription access to premium cable channels like HBO, Showtime, and EPIX, which "has yielded mixed results."
However, in April, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook told Bloomberg "that people staying at home due to the Covid-19 outbreak boosted use of the service."
While Apple still intends to put the majority of its focus on in-house programming, the company is now trying to get on the same playing field as rival services to attract more users.
Disney Plus reached 10 million subscribers on its first day of launch and has since surpassed 50 million. Within the first few months of 2020, Netflix had added nearly 16 million new subscribers. Bloomberg noted that Apple had not revealed its total subscriber count as of May.