Partnership deal for iTunes Movies and TV Shows app marks a signficant change in strategy for long-time rivals Apple and Samsung


Rival firms Samsung and Apple have struck a partnership deal that will see a new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app launching on Samsung Smart TVs.

The deal is part of strategy shift for Apple, which last week warned of slowing iPhone sales. The company is now increasingly looking to services - such as iCloud storage as well as its music, television and movie content businesses – to generate additional revenues.

It also comes as Apple prepares to launch its own OTT service to rival Netflix. Apple has commissioned a number of high profile shows for the service, but has not yet revealed full details of its offer.

As part of its deal with Samsung, the iTunes Movies and TV Shows app and Apple AirPlay 2 support will be available on 2019 Samsung smart TV models from spring. Support on 2018 TV models will be made available via firmware update.

Samsung said the app would allow customers to access their existing iTunes library and to buy or rent content via the iTunes store.

With AirPlay 2 support, Samsung customers will also be able to play videos, photos, music and podcasts from Apple devices.

The deal potentially gives Apple access to millions of existing and new customers via Samsung, one of the world’s largest TV manufacturers.

The Samsung deal is the second time in recent months that Apple has made a pact with another technology company to make its services available on their devices.

In November, it said its Apple Music streaming service would be made available on Amazon’s Echo smart speakers, despite Apple selling its own line of HomePod speakers that compete directly with Echo speakers.

Samsung and Apple have long been viewed as bitter rivals, particularly in the smartphone market, making the partnership deal all the more surprising.

However, media and technology analyst Paolo Pescatore said the deal is a smart strategic move for both companies.

“Samsung has made numerous failed moves in video services while Apple is still seeking to crack the TV landscape. Samsung is better placed than rivals to act as an aggregator given its broad distribution reach. For this reason, it will provide a much needed services revenue boost for Apple. Significantly the tie-up underlines the importance of scale.”

Pescatore added: “For Apple this suggests a change in focus on making its services available on rival platforms rather than tightly integrating it into its own devices.”

Won-Jin Lee, executive vice president, service business of visual display at Samsung Electronics, said: “Bringing more content, value and open platform functionality to Samsung TV owners and Apple customers through iTunes and AirPlay is ideal for everyone.”

Eddy Cue, senior vice president of internet software and services at Apple, said: “We look forward to bringing the iTunes and AirPlay 2 experience to even more customers around the world through Samsung Smart TVs, so iPhone, iPad and Mac users have yet another way to enjoy all their favourite content on the biggest screen in their home.”