Apple Inc., after teasing investors for months about its ambitions to become a services company, is getting ready to showcase plans for new video and news products. All it needs now is for Hollywood to sign up.
But before the curtain goes up, Apple needs to complete deals. The company is racing to secure movies and TV shows to offer alongside its own original videos and is offering concessions to get deals done by a Friday deadline, according to people familiar with the matter. Pay-TV programmers such as HBO, Showtime and Starz have to decide whether Apple is an existential threat, as some now view Netflix, a potential partner or something in between.
When Apple did a similar dance to craft deals with record companies to build iTunes and then Apple Music, they were purely working through a distribution deal. They were not a threat (at least not an obvious one), but a partner. Apple had no ambitions to create music of their own.
The race to build partnerships now, to carry third party content on its rumored video service, has to deal with the fact that Apple has very public plans to build content of its own. Apple clearly wants a seat at the table, alongside existing partners such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video.
Of the group, Apple is the only one distributing the others. Less than two weeks ’til the beans get spilled.