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Apple planning to upgrade TV app with service subscription feature within next year

Bloomberg has published a report with new details about how Apple plans to leverage its TV app on iOS and Apple TV to add new subscribers to its ecosystem. According to the publication, Apple plans to offer subscriptions to video services directly through the TV app sometime ” in the next year.”

As Bloomberg highlights, the move would connect various parts of Apple’s platforms that already exist today and encourage customers to subscribe through Apple:

For the first time, Apple plans to begin selling subscriptions to certain video services directly via its TV app, rather than asking users to subscribe to them through apps individually downloaded from the App Store, according to people familiar with the matter.

Apple already taps into subscription revenue for third-party video services when customers subscribe via apps downloaded from the App Store. For example, you can subscribe to Netflix directly from the streaming video service through its website (and Apple gets no cut), or subscribe through Netflix’s app using your Apple ID (which allows Apple to take a percentage).

Apple doesn’t yet offer one place to subscribe to multiple video services, however, but it does have its TV app which aggregates content from various movie and TV show providers. Much of that content can’t be viewed without a paid subscription to a third-party service.

Bloomberg also highlights that streaming video doesn’t actually take place in the TV app today — it’s more of a directory between services — but that could change in the future:

Apple could eventually move the streaming to its own app, instead of sending users to third parties.

Today the TV app includes content from Hulu, HBO Now, Crunchyroll, and video-on-demand apps for channels including ESPN, but Netflix remains a major holdout for real integration. If Apple does introduce the ability to subscribe to services through the TV app, perhaps Netflix will be more willing to let Apple’s user interface be the catalog to its video library.

Of course Apple has its own video library in the works with original TV shows currently in development. Apple hasn’t announced how it will sell its content when it’s ready, but we presume a new Apple Video subscription service will be offered — which the TV app can be the front-end to.

Read the full report at Bloomberg.

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Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.