By Stephen Nellis
(Reuters) – Apple Inc on Monday invited media to a March 25 event at the Steve Jobs Theater on its campus in Cupertino, California, where it is expected to launch a television and video service.
Sources previously told Reuters that the company is targeting April for the launch of a streaming television service that will likely include subscription TV service. Apple often launches products and services in the weeks following an event.
In its invitation, Apple did not specify the focus of the event and gave a single-line description: “It’s show time.”
Apple has long hinted at a planned video service, spending $2 billion in Hollywood to produce its own content and signing major stars such as Oprah Winfrey. Sources familiar with the matter earlier told Reuters that the service may resell subscriptions from CBS Corp, Viacom Inc and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp’s Starz among others, as well as Apple’s own original content
The TV service is expected to launch globally, an ambitious move to rival services from Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video. Apple’s App Store, where the service is likely to be distributed, is currently available in more than 100 countries.
Apple has long hinted at a planned video service, with Chief Executive Tim Cook speaking openly about the company’s interest on earnings calls with investors but declining to give any details about what the service might look like.
The potential sales from a television service have become a focus of investors after Apple in January reported the first-ever dip in iPhone sales during the key holiday shopping period and said it would lower iPhone prices in some markets to account for foreign exchange rates.
Apple aims to bring together its own shows into one central location with content from media companies, saving iPhone and other Apple device users from having to juggle multiple apps for those channels, sources earlier told Reuters.
Apple is aiming to resell TV channels subscriptions similar to Amazon, whose Prime Video Service resells Starz and other channels and keeps a cut of the sales.
Apple is also in discussions with HBO, part of AT&T Inc-owned WarnerMedia, to become part of the service and it could yet make it in time for the launch, according to a person familiar with the matter.
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco and Kenneth Li in New York; editing by Leslie Adler and Jonathan Oatis)