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APPLE EYES A BIG BUNDLE (REPORT)

Would you be attracted to a subscription service that would bring you TV, music and news, and if the answer is yes, how much would you be willing to peel each month? These are the key questions Apple is pondering as the tech colossus considers creating an offering that would combine its original TV shows, Apple Music and magazine articles. This according to The Information, which cites two people familiar with the company’s plans.

While such an ambitious offering would bear some similarity to Amazon Prime, it would be sharply different from many other subscription media services, which tend to be focused on one specific entertainment area, Jessica Toonkel writes. If Apple can determine the right price point, the company’s subscription revenue could conceivably get a massive boost, reducing its reliance on iPhone and Mac sales.

SVP Internet and Software Services Eddy Cue is overseeing the TV distribution strategy.

As a first step, Apple is expected to launch a digital news subscription service next year. Said service would combine the Apple News app with a digital magazine-subscription service acquired by Apple in March. The service, Texture, offers more than 200 publications, including The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, for $9.99 a month.

The next step could involve bundling the news subscription offering with Apple Music, plus the video content it has begun producing. The company also would continue to allow subscribers to sign up for each of the services separately, according to the sources.

The story cites a research report issued this week in which RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani said such a bundle could boost Apple Music’s subscriber base past 100 million in the next three years.

Apple hired Jamie Erlicht and Zack van Amburg from Sony Pictures last June, and they’re reportedly working with a $1 billion budget for content acquisition and programming for 2018. While well below the $5b Amazon is spending or Netflix’s $8b+ budget, the investment is a big new bet for a company that has always shied away from buying content, relying on extensive partnerships with television and movie studios with iTunes, Toonkel notes.

Interestingly, Spotify brought in experienced TV exec Dawn Ostroff earlier this week.

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