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Script competition

Apple unveils SVoD pricing, launch date

The Morning Show will be among Apple TV+’s launch dramas

Apple has unveiled the pricing and launch date of its SVoD service set to rival Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+.

Apple TV+ will launch on November 1 priced at US$4.99 per month in more than 100 countries (£4.99 in the UK). But any customers who purchase a new iPhone, iPad or Apple TV+ will get one year of service for free. Up to six people can share one Apple TV+ subscription.

Apple revealed some of the original titles available at launch, saying Apple TV+ will be the first all-original video subscription service.

Its titles include the previously announced Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston drama set in the world of a morning news programme, The Morning Show.

See, a drama starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard, is set 600 years in the future after a virus has decimated humankind and rendered the remaining population blind.

Dickinson, a darkly comedic coming-of-age story, explores the constraints of society, gender and family through the lens of a rebellious young poet.

For All Mankind, a series from Ronald D Moore, imagines what would have happened if the global space race never ended.

Children’s series Helpsters, from the makers of Sesame Street, is also included in the launch slate, along with Snoopy in Space, an original from Peanuts Worldwide and DHX Media.

In factual, The Elephant Queen is described as a love letter to a species on the verge of extinction, following a matriarch elephant and her herd on an epic journey.

Oprah Winfrey will also host a show where she invites authors from around the world to join her in conversation.

At launch, most of the series will premiere with three episodes followed by one new episode rolling out each week, while full seasons of some series will be available all at once.

Subscribers will be able to watch Apple TV+ through an app on Apple products but it will also be available on select Samsung smart TVs and will come to Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and VIZIO platforms in the future. Subscribers can also access the service online via internet browsers Chrome, Safari and Firefox.

“Apple TV+ is an unprecedented global video service with an all-original slate,” said Jamie Erlicht, who shares Apple’s head of worldwide video role with Zack Van Amburg.

Van Amburg added that each original offers a unique story which should inspire cultural conversations.

“With Apple TV+, we are presenting all-original stories from the best, brightest and most creative minds, and we know viewers will find their new favourite show or movie on our service,” Van Amburg said.

Erlicht and Van Amburg were previously Sony Pictures Television co-presidents and were headline arrivals in a 2017 industry talent grab by Apple for its streaming service, which also included Channel 4’s chief creative officer, Jay Hunt.

Apple’s move into services with a “punchy pricepoint” showed it was ready to take its rivals head-on, according to media analyst Paolo Pescatore, from PP Foresight.

“Apple recognises the growing importance of services to its future growth. Now is a pivotal time for the company as it executes on its grander plan for services,” he said.

Pescatore said Apple clearly planned to make Apple TV+ a long-term investment because it would need to invest billions to keep up its slate of original content, but that could be a good thing for content creators.

“Apple’s reach represents a great channel for publishers, content and media creators,” he said. “However, Apple needs to consider opening up on to other platforms and devices. Telcos represent a great channel for Apple as many are stepping back from investing in having costly set-top boxes and licensing TV shows.”

The analyst argued that other companies should be very worried about Apple TV+.

“Overall, the roll-out of new subscription-based services by Apple paves the way for the introduction of new business models akin to the all-you-can-eat bundles like Amazon Prime. In the future, we might even see users pay for a service bundle and receive a new iPhone every year,” he suggested.

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