Apple launches streaming service with Winfrey, Spielberg on board

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Oprah Winfrey on stage with Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Oprah Winfrey on stage with Apple CEO Tim Cook.

American tech conglomerate Apple is getting into the original content game and is making a play for attention around the world with a new streaming service, called Apple TV+.

The service will feature some of the world's most well-known and creative actors and directors creating exclusive original shows, movies and documentaries for Apple TV+ subscribers.

This announcement was made at the Apple Special Event today, which took place in the Steve Jobs theatre in the newly built Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Video-streaming has become a hotly contested sector over the last few years with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime gaining traction around the world. In South Africa, there are several services that are unique to this market, including Showmax and Viu.

Streaming platforms differentiate themselves in the space by offering exclusive content the viewer will not be able to find anywhere else.

Apple says it wants its service to be the place where the highest quality original content can be found.

The company did not give details of how much it would cost, or where it would be available but did say it would be a subscription-based model and would be available later this year in over 100 countries.

Some of the content creators already on board include Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Octavia Spencer, JJ Abrams, Jason Momoa, M Night Shyamalan, Jon M Chu and more.

"We're honoured that the absolute best line-up of storytellers in the world - both in front of and behind the camera - are coming to Apple TV+," says Eddy Cue, senior vice-president of Internet software and services, in a release issued by Apple.

"We're thrilled to give viewers a sneak peek of Apple TV+ and cannot wait for them to tune in starting this fall [SA's spring]. Apple TV+ will be home to some of the highest quality original storytelling that TV and movie lovers have seen yet."

Winfrey says she joined the Apple platform so she can connect with people around the world to share meaningful ways to create positive change. "My intention is to illuminate consciousness, and to build greater awareness through compelling conversations with newsmakers, with leaders, with artists, with people in all walks of life. I want to reach that sweet spot with insight and perspective, truth and tolerance, actually intersect," says Winfrey.

She has two documentaries in the works; one is about toxic workplaces and the other is a multi-part show about mental health. She will also be the host of a live 'book club' where she interviews authors on the platform.

Apple TV+ will also have a TV series created by ET director Steven Spielberg called "Amazing Stories", and a series starring Aquaman star Jason Momoa about an imagined future where the entire human race is blind.

There will also be a children's show created, featuring Big Bird from Sesame Street teaching children about coding in an accessible way.

Apple says all its content will be downloadable so viewers can watch offline, and there will be new additions to original content every month after launch.

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