Oprah Winfrey and Apple TV+ end multiyear deal

Oprah Winfrey holds up an Emmy Award as seated people look on.
Oprah Winfrey on stage at the 74th Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Sept. 12.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Oprah Winfrey and Apple TV+ are ending their multiyear content deal, three years after the tech giant launched its subscription streaming service, sources familiar with the matter said.

The partnership, announced in 2018, created original programs for Apple TV+. At the time, the deal was considered an important step toward showing Hollywood the A-list talent that Apple TV+ could attract and the iPhone maker’s ambitions in streaming.

Apple’s ‘CODA,’ which cost $25 million to purchase at the Sundance film festival, turned out to be worth the price.

March 27, 2022

Representatives of Apple and Winfrey declined to comment on the matter, which was confirmed by sources close to the companies who were not authorized to comment.


The change comes as streaming companies are reevaluating what types of content best connect with consumers. Other companies, including Warner Bros. Discovery and Netflix, have made changes to their staffing as they look to cut costs.

Winfrey helped put Apple TV+ on the map when it was a relative newcomer to the streaming space. Unlike competitors like Netflix, Apple did not have a deep library of content at launch.

“Apple wanted to announce it had arrived and it was a force to be reckoned with,” said Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. “Signing up Oprah was a pretty strong message.”

Now that Apple is more established, the streamer has less need for such a high-profile nonexclusive deal, Thompson said.

What’s more, Thompson noted, while Winfrey has brought content to Apple TV+, some of her most talked about work wasn’t on the streaming platform. For example, her interview with Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, was on CBS.

Apple TV+ has evolved since the deal was announced, winning Emmys for its critically acclaimed programs such as comedy “Ted Lasso” and becoming the first streamer to win an Academy Award for best picture with the drama “CODA.”


Winfrey’s most recent project with the streamer was a documentary on the life of Sidney Poitier called “Sidney” that launched Friday on Apple TV+.

“The Apple platform allowed me to do what I do in a new way,” Winfrey said at an Apple press event in 2019. “They’re a company that reimagined how we communicate … [they’re] in a billion pockets, y’all. That represents a major opportunity to make a genuine impact.”

Apple and Winfrey will continue to work together on a project-by-project basis, according to people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment. The news was first reported by Puck.

Apple TV+, which charges $4.99 a month, has roughly 40 million paid subscribers, according to estimates from Wedbush Securities.

Apple TV+ has no library of beloved movies and TV shows. Instead, the tech giant hopes its original programming is enough to ensure “wild success.”

Oct. 30, 2019

Staff writer Yvonne Villarreal contributed to this report.