Apple details new magazine, news app at services event

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Apple lifted the curtain on Monday on a television and movie streaming service that will allow users of its 1.4 billion gadgets worldwide to stream television shows and movies. (AFP/Getty Images)
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Apple lifted the curtain on Monday on a television and movie streaming service that will allow users of its 1.4 billion gadgets worldwide to stream television shows and movies. (AFP/Getty Images)
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Apple on Monday laid out the details of its news subscription service, Apple News Plus, at an event Monday. (Reuters)
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The company's new video service is expected to have original TV and movies that reportedly cost Apple more than $1 billion. (AP)
Updated 26 March 2019
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Apple details new magazine, news app at services event

  • The new video service is expected to have original TV and movies
  • Apple is pushing digital subscriptions as it searches for new profit growth

CUPERTINO, California: Apple lifted the curtain on Monday on a television and movie streaming service that will allow users of its 1.4 billion gadgets worldwide to stream television shows and movies, both Apple originals and those from other creators, in a first step to challenge streaming video leaders Netflix and Amazon.

The launch was the centerpiece of an event at Apple's Cupertino, California, headquarters that focused on the technology company's services, not its hardware, as it deals with declining sales of its iPhone.

Apple also introduced updates to its payment system, launched a games arcade, and added magazines to its news app.

Hollywood celebrities trekked to Apple's home to help debut a revamped Apple TV digital storefront, called Apple TV+. Apple has commissioned programming from Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.

Apple's jump into original entertainment signals a fundamental shift in its business as sales of hardware money-makers drop off. Without another category-defining new gadget announced to the public, Apple is looking to rely more on selling subscriptions and services like video, music and hardware insurance.

Throughout their presentation, Apple executives stressed privacy protections for consumers as they shop and consume content across a range of Apple phones, iPads or other hardware. They also emphasized content that would appeal to young audiences, potentially setting the stage for a rivalry with Walt Disney.

The company 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 also 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 also said Apple Pay, its digital wallet, will soon be usable on public transit systems in Portland, Oregon, Chicago and New York City. Apple Pay will be available in more than 40 countries by the end of the year.

With its new media push, Apple joins 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.

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 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.

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 shares were down about 1 percent after about an hour of presentations at the event, which was broadcast online.


French court throws out Qatari-owned beIN Sports’ ‘unproven’ broadcast piracy claim against Arabsat

Updated 18 June 2019
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French court throws out Qatari-owned beIN Sports’ ‘unproven’ broadcast piracy claim against Arabsat

  • The court rejected beIN’s allegations and demanded that beIN pay a fine of €6,000 to Arabsat’s adviser

LONDON: The Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris has thrown out beIN Media group’s allegations against the Arab Satellite Communications Organisation — better known as Arabsat.

The French court rejected beIN’s allegations and demanded that beIN pay a fine of €6,000 to Arabsat’s adviser, and the prosecution costs of Arabsat amounting to €25,000.

Arabsat said it welcomed the ruling, which made clear there was no link between Arabsat and piracy.

The court said beIN had failed to demonstrate “clear illegal disruption or prove immediate risk of commercial damage.”

In a statement issued after the conclusion of the legal proceedings in Paris, the satellite company said that it respected the integrity of the French judiciary and was pleased with how skillfully and professionally the allegations of Qatar’s Al Jazeera subsidiary, beIN Sports, were addressed.

“The French judiciary’s ruling, rejecting beIN’s lawsuit and allegations against Arabsat, has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt our organization’s valid position from day one, despite beIN Sport’s attempts to cast doubt on that position; its media smear campaign; and its relentless attempts to push bogus and misleading claims,” Arabsat said in a statement following the ruling.

INNUMBERS

• €25,000 — beIN ordered to pay prosecution costs of Arabsat

• 500 — The number of TV channels Arabsat broadcasts

• 170 million — Arabsat audience in the Middle East and North Africa

• 1976 — year Arabsat was founded

It marks the latest legal chapter in a long running feud that has produced claim and counter claim.  In a press release issued on May 2, 2018 beIN accused Arabsat of “facilitation of satellite broadcasts by the notorious Saudi-based piracy network, cynically known as “beoutQ”.

Founded in 1976, Arabsat has grown to become the leading satellite services provider in the Arab world.

It broadcasts over 500 TV channels, 200 radio stations, pay-tv networks as well as HD channels to millions of homes across 80 countries.

It has an estimated audience of over 170 million viewers in the Middle East and North Africa.

Doha-based beIN was founded in 2014 and operates 60 channels in 43 countries.