Apple reportedly close to adding HBO, Showtime, and Starz to upcoming video service

Apple is expected to reach deals with HBO, Showtime, and Starz in time for its March 25th event, which will mark the debut of the company’s anticipated subscription video service. Finding content partners is proving critical, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, because the vast majority of TV shows and movies on the new service at launch will be from third parties.

Apple has been pouring money into original programming and has signed deals with plenty of big names — many of them will be attending the event at Steve Jobs Theater — but those efforts reportedly aren’t yet far enough along to be ready on day one. But the company will have at least some existing content of its own to fall back on, like Carpool Karaoke: The Series.

The three premium networks are still reportedly negotiating with Apple over things like user experience and marketing, but a deal with at least some of them could be finalized by Friday. It’s previously been reported that Netflix and Hulu both want nothing to do with Apple’s service. Hulu currently allows its content to be listed in the Apple TV app, but that seems to be as far as the company wants to take its relationship with Apple. Netflix, meanwhile, has grown so tired of Apple’s subscription terms that it no longer allows customers to sign up directly from its iOS app.

Bloomberg again suggests that the service will live inside the Apple TV app on iOS and Apple TV. Having read up on all the rumors over the last few months, I’m still a bit confused about what you’ll actually be able to play from within Apple’s service. Bloomberg makes it sound like Apple is signing content partnerships for Netflix-style, all-in-one streaming. But there are also indications that Apple plans to sell subscriptions to some partner video apps from the TV app. Will users still get kicked over to third-party apps for some content? What will the Apple TV app look like for non-subscribers after this service launches?

There’s a lot for Apple to go over on March 25th — and that’s not even including the magazine subscription service it’s also reportedly planning to unveil at the same event. Bloomberg says the video and magazine subscription services will be offered separately, but Apple might try to sell consumers on bundling them with special discounts. The magazine service will become part of the Apple News app.