Apple has plans to begin selling subscriptions to video services directly through its TV app, according to a report by Bloomberg, likely consolidating subscriptions previously available through individual iOS and tvOS apps. Citing people familiar with the matter, the report suggests that the aim is to both simplify the subscription process as well as make the TV app a more prominent one-stop hub for all video content.
Apple’s TV app, launched in late 2016 with tvOS 10 and iOS 10, currently aggregates content from multiple providers, allowing for a unified interface for users to access programming from channels like ABC, NBA League Pass, and HBO, however at this point users are still required to hop into the associated apps to actually purchase content or even watch shows, meaning that TV app simply serves as a sort of “TV guide” for a collection of participating third-party apps. This new change would mean users could purchase subscriptions right into the TV app, although they’d still likely be transferred out to the appropriate third-party apps for actually watching content. The Bloomberg report suggests that Apple may ultimately be looking to position its TV app in a manner similar to Amazon’s Channels program, which allows users to expand a core Amazon Prime Video subscription with “add-on” packages such as HBO, Starz, and Showtime, which are offered as enhancements to Prime Video, rather than separate services.