Monday is the coming-out party for Apple’s Hollywood ambitions: After years of trademark secrecy about its plans to stream into video entertainment, the tech giant is set to pull back the curtain at a media event.
The live program kicks off at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET, on Monday, March 25, from the Steve Jobs Theater at the tech giant’s campus in Cupertino, Calif. Apple is offering a free live stream of the big reveal at apple.com/apple-events/livestream.
In addition to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the company has invited stars of several of its original series to the event, who are expected to join execs in unveiling the first looks at clips of some of Apple’s projects.
Shows that Apple has announced to date include a Reese Witherspoon-Jennifer Aniston morning show drama; dramas “Little Voices” and “My Glory Was I Had Such Friends” from executive producer J.J. Abrams, with the latter starring Jennifer Garner; drama “Are You Sleeping” starring Octavia Spencer; and a comedy about a video-game development studio from Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”).
On Sunday, users spotted a mock-up of a text exchange between Tim Cook and Kevin Durant — the NBA star who’s the subject of an Apple docu-series about his early life and career — on Apple’s placeholder page for the live-stream. Also seen was an image showing an incoming call from Chris Evans, who is starring in Apple’s “Defending Jacob” limited-series thriller.
It’s still not clear when those Apple original series will be available — or how much users will have to pay to watch them. Those details are expected to be revealed Monday.
Initially, Apple’s subscription-video product is expected to center on a bundle of third-party TV services; in recent months, the company has held talks with HBO, CBS, Showtime and Starz about being part of the integrated service. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said last week that it will not be part of Apple’s subscription service.
Apple has been negotiating with HBO, Showtime and Starz to offer their streaming services for $9.99 per month each, the Wall Street Journal reported. Apple also plans to charge a fee for its originals, per the WSJ report, which didn’t have that pricing info.
The company sent out invitations to the March 25 confab to media two weeks ago, which said only “It’s show time.”
In addition to news on the video front, Apple also is expected to launch a revamped news subscription service based on Texture, a magazine-subscription app the company acquired a year ago. The Wall Street Journal is reportedly in the mix, while the CEO of the New York Times Co. signaled it’s going to sit out.
Apple also may announce a game-subscription service at Monday’s event, Bloomberg reported.
Cook tweeted Monday ahead of the event, “Excited for a big day ahead!” along with a GIF showing the sun rising on the Steve Jobs Theater.