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Apple invites Hollywood to Silicon Valley in TV push

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Apple Inc is expected to finally lift the curtain on Monday on a secretive, years-long effort to build a television and movie offering designed to compete with big media companies and boost digital services revenue as iPhone sales taper.

“It’s show time” is how the iPhone maker billed the affair slated for the Steve Jobs Theater at its Cupertino, California, headquarters. Analysts believe it will be the technology company’s first splashy launch event that will not feature new gadgets or hardware.

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Hollywood celebrities are likely to trek to Apple’s Cupertino home to greet the debut of a revamped Apple TV digital storefront. Apple has commissioned programming from A-list names such as Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.

The Apple original shows are expected to be offered alongside the option to subscribe to content from Viacom Inc and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp’s Starz, among others, sources have told Reuters.

Apple will join a crowded field where rivals such as Amazon.com’s Prime Video and Netflix Inc have spent heavily to capture viewer attention and dollars with award-winning series and films.

The big tech war for viewers ignited a consolidation wave among traditional media companies preparing to join the fray. Walt Disney Co, which bought 21st Century Fox, and AT&T Inc, which purchased Time Warner Inc, plan to launch or test new streaming video services this year.

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Apple’s jump into original entertainment signals a fundamental shift in its business. Sales of hardware money-makers the iPhone, iPad and Mac were either stagnant or flat in its most recent fiscal year. Without another category-defining new gadget announced to the public, Apple is expected to rely on selling subscriptions and services like video, music and hardware insurance.

Revenue from its “services” segment – which includes the App Store, iCloud and content businesses such as Apple Music – grew 24 percent to $37.1 billion in fiscal 2018.

The services segment accounted for only about 14 percent of Apple’s overall $265.6 billion in revenue, but investors have pinned their hopes for growth on the segment.

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Apple’s TV push has been cloaked in mystery. Even producers of Apple’s shows are unsure about many of the details about when and how audiences will be able to see their work.

On Monday, Apple also is expected to unveil an Apple News subscription option featuring content from major publishers and a new credit card with Goldman Sachs to bolster Apple Pay.

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While Apple plans to spend $2 billion on original shows this year and has hired Hollywood veterans to oversee them, it is unlikely to take on Netflix or Amazon directly by including libraries of older shows. Instead, its model is expected to more closely resemble the App Store, offering paid subscriptions to other media companies’ programming and keeping a cut of sales.

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Ahead of the launch, Apple negotiated deals that would let Apple bundle and sell networks at a discount, replicating a business model from the cable TV industry, one source familiar with the matter said.

Apple’s goal, other sources have told Reuters, is to bring together television shows in one place to make it easier to find, buy and watch them. Apple has worked to make it easier to watch the shows on traditional television from manufacturers such as Sony Corp, VIZIO Inc, LG Electronics Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

Apple’s pitch to Hollywood is that it has the potential to reach hundreds of millions of viewers. The company said in January there were 1.4 billion active Apple devices, 900 million of which are iPhones. It has positioned that as leverage against Netflix’s 139 million global customers and the 100 million subscribers to Amazon’s Prime shipping program, which includes the video service.

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But the Silicon Valley company has a history of making quick progress when coming from behind: It launched its Apple Music streaming service years after rival Spotify Technology SA but has garnered 50 million listeners, nearly half of Spotify’s 96 million premium subscribers. And Apple in January said its Apple News service had 85 million active users after being released less than four years ago.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco, Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and Kenneth Li in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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‘I don’t want no hug’: Atatiana Jefferson’s father won’t forgive cop who killed daughter in her own home

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The father of a black woman gunned down by Texas police in her own home recognizes the sickening similarities between his family's tragedy and Botham Jean's family, but he is feeling less forgiving.

Atatiana Jefferson was shot to death while playing video games at home with her 8-year-old nephew when a neighbor called Fort Worth police for a welfare check after spotting her front door standing open, and her father is angry, reported KTVT-TV.

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Journalist explains the horrifying ‘scale of the disaster Trump has wrought’ in the Middle East — and worldwide

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On Monday, British journalist Edward Luce laid out the chilling likely consequences of President Donald Trump's abandonment of Kurdish allies in Syria — and how the decision threatens to destroy America's ability to steer world diplomacy:

Worth emphasising the scale of the disaster Trump has wrought in the week since his call with Erdogan. 1. Revived Isis. 2. Cemented Assad’s grip on Syria. 3. Handed Russia yet another geopolitical windfall. 4. Betrayed the Kurds. 5. Immeasurably harmed US power. Thread 1.

— Edward Luce (@EdwardGLuce) October 14, 2019

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WATCH: Teacher flies into a racist rage after a fender-bender and hurls the N-word at a black parent

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A Pennsylvania middle school teacher has been put on administrative leave without pay after she was caught on video calling a black man the N-word after a fender-bender in a school parking lot, WNEP reports.

The teacher, whose name has not been released, has reportedly been a teacher at Drexel Hill Middle School since 2008. She can also be heard making homophobic remarks in the video as well.

The video apparently begins just after the accident, and the teacher can be heard saying the man is “probably on welfare,” to which the man replies, “Not even a little bit. Six figures a year, ma’am.”

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