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Apple Looking to Copy Amazon’s Subscription Video Distribution Strategy (Report)

Apple plans to start selling third-party video subscription services directly through its TV app, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. This approach would be very similar to the way Amazon sells video services via its Amazon Channels program.

It would also be a departure from the way Apple is currently handling third-party subscriptions, which is through in-app payments. Users of Apple mobile devices and Apple TVs have for some time been able to pay for video subscription services using their Apple payment information, but both the payment and the consumption of the paid content happen in third-party apps.

With this new model, Apple would be able to make it easier for users to subscribe to a video service, potentially doing away with the need for publishers to even build apps for devices like Apple TV. It would also validate Apple’s own TV app, which the company launched in 2016 as a kind of program guide for online video.

The company plans to roll out the new feature in the coming year, according to Bloomberg. An Apple spokesperson declined to comment when contacted for this story.

Amazon has been very successful with a very similar model, which it calls Amazon Channels. The company allows Amazon Prime subscribers to easily add paid third-party services like HBO, Starz and CBS all Access to their Prime Video service, and streams this third-party programming directly through the Amazon Video app.

Amazon launched Channels at the end of 2015, and has since continuously grown the number of video services available through channels. The company also briefly experimented with selling its own niche video services through Channels, but gave up on that strategy earlier this year.

Despite such setbacks, Amazon Channels has by all accounts been a very successful program for the company. A number of industry insiders have told Variety in that past that Amazon has become the single biggest seller of video subscription services, easily surpassing competitors like Google and Apple.

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