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Apple Is Said to Plan Selling Video Subscriptions Through TV App

Apple Inc.’s plan to reinvent cable TV is starting to look a lot like the strategy of its rival Amazon.com Inc.

For the first time, Apple plans to begin selling subscriptions to certain video services directly via its TV app, rather than asking users to subscribe to them through apps individually downloaded from the App Store, according to people familiar with the matter.

This would simplify the process and bolster Apple’s TV app on Apple TV, iPhones and iPads, making it a central place for people to find, watch, and buy content. It would also be another way for Apple to keep boosting its services business, which it expects to generate $50 billion a year in revenue by 2021.

Right now, the TV app aggregates content from other providers, allowing people to locate shows from a wide array of apps and channels like ABC, NBA League Pass and HBO, rather than having to hop between different apps. But then Apple sends customers outside its app to buy access to those channels or watch shows. With the pending change, subscription purchasing would move to the TV app. Apple could eventually move the streaming to its own app, instead of sending users to third parties.

Cupertino, California-based Apple plans to roll out this feature in the next year, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing plans that aren’t public. With growth in iPhone sales slowing, Apple is now looking to services such as Apple Music and iCloud storage and content subscriptions to boost its financial results. Sales from services climbed 31 percent in the most recent quarter, reaching a record $9.2 billion.

Apple declined to comment on the project.