Canada Markets open in 5 hrs 29 mins

Apple spotlights services with TV, gaming and credit card offerings

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple (L) and Oprah Winfrey hug during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

By Stephen Nellis and Lisa Richwine

CUPERTINO, Calif. (Reuters) - Apple Inc attempted to reintroduce itself on Monday as an entertainment and financial services company that also makes iPhones as it launched a streaming television service, a credit card and an online gaming arcade.

With appearances by Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg, the world's second-most valuable technology company lifted the curtain on a television and movie subscription service called Apple TV+ that will stream original television shows and movies.

The star-studded lineup failed to excite investors, who sent Apple shares down 1.2 percent.

The company's long-expected plunge into the streaming video war is years behind leaders Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc. Apple left out key details such as pricing, making it difficult to judge how its service will stack up against competitors.

"While Apple may introduce a bigger roster of original content than Amazon and Netflix during their respective launches, the streaming  market has arguably already reached a level of saturation and consumer fatigue in the United States," said Colin Gillis, an analyst at Chatham Road Partners.

The programming will come through a revamped television-watching app for users of Apple's 1.4 billion gadgets worldwide, as well as owners of smart TVs and other devices.

Apple is taking a different approach by offering paid "channels" from AT&T Inc's HBO, Lions Gate Entertainment's Starz and CBS Corp's Showtime, alongside its own content.

Its revamped app for subscribing to channels from others will come out in May, but Apple's own original shows will not arrive until autumn, with pricing not yet announced. Apple said both its TV+ shows and the new version of the TV app will be available in more than 100 countries.

Apple also introduced a credit card, a digital video game arcade, and added hundreds of magazines to its news app at an event at its Cupertino, California, headquarters.

The launches come as Apple struggles with falling iPhone sales, which has prompted the company to turn more of its attention to services that provide regular subscription revenue.

Hollywood celebrities helped debut the revamped television offering. Apple has commissioned programming from Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Winfrey, Spielberg and others.

Winfrey, who announced a global book club and two documentaries, said she was drawn to Apple in part by its reach. "They're in a billion pockets, y'all," she said, referring to Apple's ubiquitous devices.

Alongside its own iPhones, iPads and iMacs, Apple will make the programming widely available through smart TVs and devices from Roku Inc and others, departing from the past where it has tended to keep content exclusively on its own hardware.



PRIVACY TO THE FORE

Throughout the presentation, Apple executives stressed privacy protections for consumers as they shop and consume content.

"The most important point for today was advertising and privacy," said D.A. Davidson & Co analyst Thomas Forte.

Apple, second only to Microsoft Corp in market value among tech giants, led off the event with an announcement that its free news app will now come in a paid-subscription version, called Apple News+, which curates a range of news articles and will include 300 magazines including National Geographic, People, Popular Science, Billboard and the New Yorker. Apple said it would cost $9.99 a month.

Apple then introduced a titanium, laser-etched Apple Card backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Mastercard Inc that can track spending across devices and pay daily cash back on purchases. Cook said Apple Pay will be available in more than 40 countries by the end of the year.

The company also introduced Apple Arcade, a game subscription service that will work on phones, tablets and desktop computers and include games from a range of developers.

Apple said the gaming service will feature more than 100 exclusive titles from gaming partners such as Annapurna Interactive and that the service will arrive this autumn.

As with its original content service, Apple did not say how much its gaming service will cost consumers.


CROWDED FIELD

With its new media push, Apple joins a crowded field where Amazon.com's Prime Video and Netflix have spent heavily to capture viewer attention and dollars with award-winning series and films.

Apple's primarily family-friendly content, likely to appeal to young audiences, also sets the stage for a rivalry with Walt Disney Co.

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

Revenue from Apple's services - which include the App Store, iCloud and content businesses such as Apple Music - grew 24 percent to $37.1 billion in fiscal 2018. The 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 it.


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

  • U.S. Stock Index Futures Extend Gains Amid Reopening Optimism
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    U.S. Stock Index Futures Extend Gains Amid Reopening Optimism

    (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock-index futures extended gains as investors weighed the prospects of economies reopening against simmering trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.Contracts on the S&P 500 rose 1.7% as of 8:25 a.m. in London, after hitting their highest level since March 6. The index added

  • Virus Is Cracking Germany’s Defense Against Jobless Surge
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Virus Is Cracking Germany’s Defense Against Jobless Surge

    (Bloomberg) -- Two months after Germany’s economy minister vowed to do everything so “no job” would be lost to the pandemic, unemployment has already risen more than during the entire 2008/2009 financial crisis.The emerging strains in Europe’s largest labor market show that even countries with well-established

  • Brussels Sets Price for Backing $9.8 Billion Lufthansa Deal
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Brussels Sets Price for Backing $9.8 Billion Lufthansa Deal

    (Bloomberg) -- The German government’s 9 billion-euro ($9.8 billion) bailout of Deutsche Lufthansa AG may cost the stricken carrier some valuable assets: Key flight slots at airports in Frankfurt and Munich.The European Commission wants Lufthansa to surrender the slots out of concern the aid will give

  • Sanofi to Sell Regeneron Stake Worth About $13 Billion
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Sanofi to Sell Regeneron Stake Worth About $13 Billion

    (Bloomberg) -- Sanofi is selling a stake in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. valued at about $13 billion, giving the French drugmaker more firepower to invest in booming fields such as cancer.Regeneron has agreed to repurchase $5 billion of its stock from Paris-based Sanofi, the companies said on Monday

  • Stocks Advance With U.S. Futures; Dollar Declines: Markets Wrap
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Stocks Advance With U.S. Futures; Dollar Declines: Markets Wrap

    (Bloomberg) -- Stocks rose with U.S equity futures on Tuesday as further moves to ease coronavirus lockdowns in major economies helped offset concern of escalating geopolitical tensions. The dollar slipped for a second session.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index jumped at the open, with all 19 sectors in the

  • Asia Today: Philippines trying to ease quarantine congestion
    Finance
    The Canadian Press

    Asia Today: Philippines trying to ease quarantine congestion

    BANGKOK — As about 24,000 Filipinos who lost their jobs abroad are being transported by land, sea or air to their provincial homes, the president warned local officials not to refuse them entry out of coronavirus fears.The workers returned to the country in recent months as jobs dried up worldwide due

  • Foreigners Flee India’s Bonds Just When It Needs Them Most
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Foreigners Flee India’s Bonds Just When It Needs Them Most

    (Bloomberg) -- Foreign funds have slashed their holdings of India’s government bonds to the lowest in three years amid dwindling returns, just as the nation embarks on a mammoth borrowing plan.The amount of sovereign securities held by global funds has slumped 767 billion rupees ($10 billion) from this

  • Deaths Surpass 346,000; German New Cases Decline: Virus Update
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Deaths Surpass 346,000; German New Cases Decline: Virus Update

    (Bloomberg) -- Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser, refused to quit his job in the U.K. government, refuting claims he flouted lockdown rules that he had helped to draft.Japan ended its state of emergency everywhere in the country and made reviving the economy its top priority. Singapore

  • Pound Traders May Be Facing Choppiest June Since Brexit Vote
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Pound Traders May Be Facing Choppiest June Since Brexit Vote

    (Bloomberg) -- The pound is heading for this year’s fourth monthly slide, and a lengthening list of risks is pointing to more turbulence in June.Sterling traders look set to face heightened uncertainty on multiple fronts next month -- the end-June deadline to extend the Brexit transition period, the

  • Stanley Ho, who built Macao's gambling industry, dies at 98
    Finance
    The Canadian Press

    Stanley Ho, who built Macao's gambling industry, dies at 98

    HONG KONG — Stanley Ho, the Macao casino tycoon who was considered the father of modern gambling in China, died Tuesday in Hong Kong, his daughter Pansy Ho said. He was 98.Known as the “King of Gambling,” the dashing billionaire and bon vivant secured a four-decade monopoly on casinos in Macao, then

  • Singapore Economy Could Contract 7%, Most Since Independence
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Singapore Economy Could Contract 7%, Most Since Independence

    (Bloomberg) -- Singapore’s economy is facing its worst contraction since independence more than a half-century ago as the coronavirus outbreak and measures to contain it pummel the trade-reliant city state.The government expects gross domestic product to shrink 4% to 7% this year, down from a previous

  • Latam Airlines files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
    Finance
    The Canadian Press

    Latam Airlines files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

    BANGKOK — South America's biggest airline sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday as it grapples with the sharp downturn in air travel sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.Latam Airlines said that it and several of its affiliated companies launched the reorganization effort in the United States

  • Finance
    The Canadian Press

    Asian shares up as recovery hopes overshadow virus worries

    TOKYO — Shares rose in Asia on Tuesday as some regions in Japan resumed close-to-normal business activity, with hopes for economic recovery overshadowing worries over the coronavirus pandemic.The market focus is shifting to how various nations are adapting to getting back to business, while striving

  • Risks complicate reopenings as WHO warns 1st wave not over
    Finance
    The Canadian Press

    Risks complicate reopenings as WHO warns 1st wave not over

    BANGKOK — The risks of reigniting coronavirus outbreaks are complicating efforts to fend off further misery for the many millions who have lost jobs, with a top health expert warning that the world is still in the midst of a “first wave” of the pandemic.“Right now, we're not in the second wave. We

  • Oil Climbs Above $34 on Hopes Market May Balance in Coming Weeks
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Oil Climbs Above $34 on Hopes Market May Balance in Coming Weeks

    (Bloomberg) -- Oil rose above $34 a barrel following a prediction from Russia that the market may rebalance as early as next month after historic output cuts from global producers to drain a glut.Russia, a member of the OPEC+ alliance that has pledged to trim supply by almost 10 million barrels a day

  • Finance
    Bloomberg

    China Will Maintain Stimulus Even as Economy Improves

    (Bloomberg) -- People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang said the central bank will focus on five measures to support credit provision to the real economy, following the government’s announcement of more “direct” support in its annual policy blueprint released last week.In the near future Officials plan

  • The Latest: India reports biggest jump in virus cases again
    Finance
    The Canadian Press

    The Latest: India reports biggest jump in virus cases again

    The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.TOP OF THE HOUR:— India reports biggest jump in virus cases for 7th straight

  • Boris Johnson Leaves the Dirty Work to Everyone Else
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Boris Johnson Leaves the Dirty Work to Everyone Else

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- An awkward question hangs over the Covid-shuttered world of Downing Street. At his daily morning meeting, Boris Johnson, back to full duties after suffering a serious bout of the virus, recently asked who was in charge of relaxing Britain’s lockdown plan, with all of the risks

  • Finance
    Bloomberg

    Now in Default, Argentina Plans Improved Offer for Creditors

    (Bloomberg) -- As Argentina sunk into its third default this century, the government said it’s preparing to improve a restructuring proposal for creditors, citing a narrowing gap between the two sides.Talks with bondholders will continue even after Argentina failed to pay $500 million in overdue interest

  • Latam Air Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Stymied by Lockdowns
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Latam Air Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Stymied by Lockdowns

    (Bloomberg) -- Latam Airlines Group SA, Latin America’s largest air carrier, sought bankruptcy court protection in New York after the Covid-19 pandemic grounded flights across the region.The Chapter 11 petition allows Latam to keep operating while the Chilean carrier works out a plan to pay creditors

  • Finance
    Bloomberg

    One Profitable SoftBank Unit Plans Big Bond Sale

    (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Masayoshi Son appears to have lost his midas touch of late, but one part of his technology empire still turning a profit, even in the Covid-19 era, is now planning a big bond.Z Holdings Corp., formerly known as Yahoo Japan, is planning to sell about 200 billion yen ($1.86 billion

  • Food Delivery Giant Meituan’s Sales Beat Estimates
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Food Delivery Giant Meituan’s Sales Beat Estimates

    (Bloomberg) -- Meituan Dianping’s shares soared after it reported a smaller than expected 13% slide in revenue that drove hopes the world’s largest meal delivery business is starting to recover as China emerges from Covid-19 lockdowns.Its shares climbed as much as 9.7%, extending strong gains since China

  • Finance
    The Canadian Press

    George R.R. Martin joins group to buy historic railway

    SANTA FE, N.M. — George R.R. Martin, the famed author of the “Game of Thrones” fantasy series, has joined a group to buy the historic Santa Fe Southern Railroad.Violet Crown cinema owner Bill Banowsky, National Dance Institute of New Mexico co-founder Catherine Oppenheimer and Martin recently purchased

  • Congress weighs choice: 'Go big' on virus aid or hit 'pause'
    Finance
    The Canadian Press

    Congress weighs choice: 'Go big' on virus aid or hit 'pause'

    WASHINGTON — Congress is at a crossroads in the coronavirus crisis, wrestling over whether to “go big,” as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants for the next relief bill, or hit “pause,” as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insists.It's a defining moment for the political parties heading toward the

  • These Pioneers Are Already Living the Green Recovery
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    These Pioneers Are Already Living the Green Recovery

    (Bloomberg) -- In the wake of the historic global economic shutdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, governments are unleashing trillions of dollars in a bid to create jobs and spur economic recovery. The scale of this stimulus is unprecedented, in some cases amounting to more than 10% of countries