Apple TV to carry HBO GO and WatchESPN Content

Michael Teague  |

Apple Inc. (AAPL) announced on Wednesday that content from HBO GO (DIS) and WatchESPN (TWC) will now be available for viewing on its Apple TV service.

With the relative dearth of prospective new releases from Apple since the iPhone 5 came out last year, there has been a great deal of speculation about how one of the company’s “game changers” involves a plan to revolutionize the television viewing experience. Much of the commentary in this regard has left out the fact that Apple TV has been available since 2007, as a $99 device that streams content that users can purchase from the iTunes store. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has claimed that 13 million of the devices have been sold since they became available.

According to the company, HBO GO and EspnWatch are already among the most popular iOS apps, but the new offerings will also include services that have stronger appeal to international audiences like Sky News, Crunchyroll, and Qello.

Wednesday’s announcement also places the company in a more competitive position in the current race between various companies to either tap into or lock down revenue from streaming content. The availability of full seasons of HBO shows and films, as well as ESPN’s coverage of sporting events as well as its popular commentary programs through Apple TV will have the tech giant facing off with Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN), who themselves have entered a new phase of intense rivalry since the latter secured content from Viacom last week that used to belong to the former.

Furthermore, since Apple TV runs through a set-top device, the company will be competing with gaming consoles that have also doubled as conduits for streaming content, such as Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox 360, Sony’s (SNE) Playstation 3, and Roku.

To bolster its point, the company announced that users have been purchasing about 800,000 TV shows and 350,000 films from iTunes on a daily basis since the online store began selling video content. The HBO and Espn content was previously available through iOS devices, which users could then run through their Apple TV sets.

It remains to be seen whether Apple’s promised revolutionizing of the television viewing experience will be limited to securing better and more content for viewers, basically putting it in competition with well-established players in the streaming market, or whether there is a new product or innovation that is lurking somewhere in the background that will prove to be the “game changer” that everyone has been waiting for.


Shares for Apple were off about 1 percent in midday trading to $427.51.

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