Report: Apple is buying older shows and movies in TV+ U-turn

Apple TV+ Apple TV interface
Apple TV+ Apple TV interface (Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is reportedly trying to buy older shows and movies for Apple TV+.
  • Bloomberg says that Apple has taken pitches, and has bought some shows and movies.
  • The move would be a big U-turn on Apple's previously stated vision for the platform.

Apple is reportedly buying up older TV shows and movies to supplement its Apple TV+ original content, according to a new report from Bloomberg.

The report states:

Apple Inc. is acquiring older movies and shows for its TV+ streaming service, aiming to build a back catalog of content that can better stack up against the huge libraries available on Netflix, Hulu and Disney+.The company's video-programming executives have taken pitches from Hollywood studios about licensing older content for TV+ and have bought some shows and movies, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bloomberg claims that this would be a "subtle strategy shift" for Apple TV+. However, the move from using exclusively original, home-grown shows and movies to buying up pre-existing seems more like a very substantial change, and a U-turn on Apple's previously stated vision for the platform.

Back in February, a report from The LA Times noted that in a previous Apple shareholder meeting, one participant asked Tim Cook why Apple hadn't tried to purchase streaming rights to popular TV series Friends. In response, Cook reportedly stated:

"We love 'Friends' but it's not what Apple TV+ is about... Apple TV+ is about original programming. It doesn't feel right for Apple to just go out and take a rerun."

According to the report, Apple's focus remains on original shows, and that it hasn't "yet acquired any huge franchises or blockbusters." Regardless, Apple has previously stated that Apple TV+ is about original content but now seems to be moving away from the philosophy. According to the report, around 10 million people have signed up for the service since November, but only half of that actively use the service "according to people familiar with the matter." Apple doesn't publish its TV+ figures so we have no way to verify this, however, there have been previous reports of slower-than-expected uptake, which could indicate Apple hopes to woo more users to its services with established, existing content.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9