Apple has a new plan to make up for flagging iPhone sales: build out the entertainment side of its business by offering original video content in Apple Music. Fans of Westworld and The OA will rejoice as yet another player enters the fray of creating high-quality, original online video.
According to FORBES, the news comes Thursday morning via The Wall Street Journal, which says Apple has been in talks with Hollywood producers to buy rights to new shows. The new video content could come as early as the end of 2017.
While it appears Apple is starting small–going for just “handful of carefully selected shows,” according to The Wall Street Journal–it’s easy to imagine Apple expanding its original offerings if this first round is a success. Netflix, for example, tested the waters with shows like House of Cards in 2013, and now has at least 50 original shows coming 2017. And Netflix CFO David Wells said the company hopes to offer 50% original content eventually.
The move comes at a time when Apple is under increasing pressure to find new sources of revenue. Consumer demand for the iPhone 6s was lower than the company anticipated, and the volume of iPhone sales decreased in 2016 for the first time since it introduced the device in 2007. Apple CEO Tim Cook is taking reduced pay as Apple also posted its first revenue decline in 15 years. Apple did not immediately respond to request for comment.
While Apple Music has just 20 million subscribers–far fewer than Spotify’s 40 million–original video content could lure in additional customers willing to pay the $9.99 monthly subscription fee. “TV content is more lucrative than music, which people just aren’t as willing to pay for,” said eMarketer analyst Paul Verna.