Apple TV+ Apple TV interfaceSource: 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.

Back catalog on the way?

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