Apple Inc led many to believe that it would finally lift the curtain yesterday 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 headquarters in Cupertino, California. The event would be the technology company’s first splashy launch not to feature new gadgets or hardware.
Hollywood celebrities were invited 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 to be offered alongside the option to subscribe to content from Viacom Inc and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp’s Starz, among others, sources have said.
Apple would join a crowded field where rivals such as Amazon.com Inc’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 Inc — and AT&T Inc — which purchased Time Warner Inc — plan to launch or test new streaming video services this year.
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.
Revenue from its “services” segment — which includes the App Store, iCloud and content businesses such as Apple Music — grew 24 percent to US$37.1 billion in fiscal year 2018.
The services segment accounted for only about 14 percent of Apple’s overall US$265.6 billion in revenue, but investors have pinned their hopes for growth on the segment.
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 would be able to see their work.
Yesterday, Apple was also to unveil an Apple News subscription option featuring content from major publishers and a new credit card with Goldman Sachs Group Inc to bolster Apple Pay.
NEW CONSIDERATIONS: An airline manager said the idea is tempting, as demand for air cargo is strong, but issues such as training loaders would need to be addressed Taiwanese airlines might repurpose passenger jets to carry cargo in their cabins to offset lost revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines are considering applying to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) for permission to transport cargo in passenger cabins after StarLux Airlines Co (星宇航空) last month became the first among the nation’s airlines to offer cargo-only flights using the normal cargo holds of its three Airbus SE A321neo passenger jets. “We are considering whether to increase our capacity by putting cargo on passenger seats,” Starlux spokesman Nieh Kuo-wei (聶國維) told the Taipei Times by telephone. “The advantage is that we can improve revenue,
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PAINFUL CONTRACTION: Passenger loads in February on flights between Taiwan and China, Hong Kong and Macau fell by more than 90 percent compared with December Even with more than NT$450 billion (US$14.85 billion) in financial aid from the Executive Yuan’s expanded relief package, local tourism-related businesses are unlikely to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic any time soon, a central bank report released last month said. The NT$1.05 trillion relief package includes NT$472 billion in financial assistance for tourism and transportation sectors, such as airlines, hotels, travel agencies, taxis and tour buses. However, a March 20 central bank report said that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on global and domestic economies are far greater than that of the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, despite any benefits from delayed purchases
Taiwan’s GDP growth would slow to 0.2 percent this year as the COVID-19 pandemic would hurt the economy more severely than the government’s expanded relief measures could cover, Moody’s Investors Service said yesterday. Moody’s said that the pandemic’s effect on the economy has escalated from a temporary supply-side disruption of cross-strait trade to a global economic downturn. “The outbreak has evolved into a serious demand shock to Taiwan’s economy externally and domestically as the health crisis has swept the globe,” it said in a report. Taiwan is highly exposed to a global downturn because of its reliance on trade and cyclical industries. Export