Monday, February 17, 2020
Feb. 17, 2020

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Apple belatedly swims into the streaming TV, movie business

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Apple CEO Tim Cook and Oprah Winfrey prepare to embrace at the Steve Jobs Theater during an event to announce new products Monday, March 25, 2019, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Apple CEO Tim Cook and Oprah Winfrey prepare to embrace at the Steve Jobs Theater during an event to announce new products Monday, March 25, 2019, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) Photo Gallery

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Jumping belatedly into a business dominated by Netflix and Amazon, Apple announced its own TV and movie streaming service Monday, enlisting such superstars as Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston and Steven Spielberg to try to overcome its rivals’ head start.

Apple didn’t disclose the price or the launch date except to say that Apple TV Plus will be available this fall. It will feature Apple’s original shows and movies .

The company also unveiled a news subscription service that will give customers access to roughly 300 magazines and a few major newspapers for $10 a month. And it announced a new branded credit card.

The video-streaming venture is fraught with risk for a company scrambling to diversify beyond its star product, the iPhone, whose sales have started to decline. Netflix, which started its streaming service in 2007, has 139 million subscribers worldwide.

But Apple has lots of money, more than 900 million active iPhones, and a track record for innovation that has enabled it to overtake its rivals, even when it enters a business late, as it did with smartphones, tablets and smartwatches.

In the past, of course, Apple has mostly jumped into relatively small and undeveloped markets. Streaming video, by contrast, is dominated by huge services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, with more seeming to be bowing into the competition daily, including AT&T’s WarnerMedia, Disney and Comcast.

“Great competitors make for great consumer experiences,” Netflix said in a statement. Netflix stock rose $5.22 to $366.23 Monday. Apple’s stock fell $2.31 to $188.74.

Among the upcoming programs on the new Apple service will be Winfrey-created documentaries; a show about TV morning talk shows, starring Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell; a futuristic drama starting Momoa; and a sci-fi show called “Amazing Stories” from Spielberg.

Apple TV Plus will be featured in the existing Apple TV app, which brings together different streaming services such as HBO and Showtime and traditional cable subscriptions.

Video will be delivered to iPhones and iPads, Apple’s own Apple TV device, smart TVs and, soon, streaming gadgets from Roku and Amazon.

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