Apple looking to develop original TV series as part of new video strategy, sources say

“Apple, which is struggling to line up networks and cable channels for its long-delayed ‘skinny bundle’ offering of a lower-priced video service, is trying a new tack and talking with TV producers and Hollywood studios about investing in TV shows to offer exclusively to its iTunes customers,” Ronald Grover reports for TheStreet.

“The Cupertino-based tech giant began sounding out Hollywood’s creative community late last year, but has yet to sign any agreements, according to two people with knowledge of the overtures,” Grover reports. “One plan is to have deals in place so Apple can announce exclusive content as part of a cable-like offering in September, when it is expected to unveil its iPhone 7, said one of the people.”

Since the beginning of television, content differentiation has been the single most important element driving the business. Apple undoubtedly recognized that offering programming that is only available on iTunes is a ‘must have,’ just as it is for mainstream TV. — Blair Westlake, former chairman of Universal TV

“Apple’s conversations with Hollywood executives are being led by Eddy Cue, the company’s senior vice-president of Internet sales and software who is the company’s chief entertainment architect,” Grover reports. “The talks also include Robert Kondrk, vice-president of iTunes content, according to one of the people.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last September:

There is a finite amount of top flight producers, writers, directors. The company with the deepest pockets (and the willingness to reach into them and dispense the contents) wins this game.

Why Apple might feel compelled to get into original content – September 2, 2015
Apple’s Internet TV service could be ‘Netflix on steroids’ – September 1, 2015
Just because Apple may be getting into original content doesn’t mean it can produce good shows – September 1, 2015
Apple made ‘audacious bid’ for Top Gear trio of Clarkson, Hammond and May, but lost out to Bezos’ Amazon – September 1, 2015
Apple’s move into content creation could devastate Netflix and Amazon
Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Why would Apple want to make their own movies and TV shows? – September 1, 2015
Apple exploring entry into original entertainment production – August 31, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


    1. Too simplistic.

      Satellite and cable companies offer identical content, and both attract subscriptions.

      Satellite radio offers the same tunes as any other music source, and it attracts subscriptions.

      Uniqueness is nice, but you also have to have to offer VALUE — the right product at the right place at the right price. That is where Apple keeps floundering.

      Apple does not control the pipeline to distribute media, and it has NEVER been competitive on media pricing (usually because media companies ensure that each channel they distribute through has consistent pricing, so Apple’s costs are the same or more compared to other media distribution networks).

      So it looks like Apple won’t offer better iTunes software and store interfaces, and dramatically improved Apple TV. Instead they are going to blow a huge pile of money on a TV series that we all know will appeal only to a small subset of people and therefore will NOT kickstart media sales any more than Netflix supercharged its sales with its original series.

      I wish Apple would concentrate on what it USED TO BE good at instead of blowing money and time on headphones, cars, ad production, “curated” internet radio, and now rumored TV shows.

      It all feels like Apple built this enormous iCloud and it is finding that, for many reasons, consumers don’t like it. So Apple is now desperately adding bait to iCloud in an attempt to get people to subscribe to everything.

      Sorry, Apple. We don’t do subscription computing. We are actively trying to cut the cord on cable TV, not add yet one more monthly bill to the pile. Get a clue.

      1. Since people seem determined not to read, I’m not recommending that Apple do a subscription service. I’m only saying that exclusive content that people enjoy is the key to getting and retaining subscribers.

        It could be one show with a huge following or ten shows with moderate numbers. For example Game of Thrones brings in and retains massive numbers of people for HBO some of whom are pirates and some who for one reason or another find it easier to pay.

        My feeling is that Apple should act more like a platform and treat networks and production companies like app developers. Be a channel for everyone to make money and focus their attention on search and queue integration as well as selling the box which could include both satellite and cable boxes.

      2. Satellite and Cable TV only compete directly on the edges of their markets. It is the premium channels and networks that rely on exclusive content for retention. Some dabble in production to ensure supply.

        Cable TV is a locally approved legal monopoly for that last mile delivery which they have been milking since they convinced people it was the only way to recoup their investment in laying all that coax cable. Local broadcast networks live off ads and the public airwaves. Home satellite providers take all the rest where population density drops off. All download content from networks and production via satellite for further distribution.

        The remainder of content is streamed live or on demand over IP or on plastic disks.

        If Apple operates as they have any subscription service is a value add to sell boxes. They may wish to pass on that in order to have a straight up platform play ala service agnostic Roku.

        But why should people subscribe if what Apple provides is neither a superior interface or exclusive content?

  1. The world does not need another “I produce some original TV-series” clone. There is ONE who does a great job, this is Netflix. Apple should immediately STOP the money-wasting share-buyback and dividends and buy Netflix, at least a good portion of it.

    Apple should not try to make everything by themselves. Just get some focus back, there is so much missing regarding the Mac, the OSX, the Pro users.

    So I think it would be a good idea just to buy some shares of another company who does a better job in a particular part of the business.

    1. why should Netflix be the only one to do this ? I think Apple should do it. and I bet they attract better talent and Apple isn’t the only one missing things in their products – that fits everyone

        1. Well then, if Hulu does it then obviously Apple should to. That’s definitely the key to winning new customers.

          For my money, Roku has the right approach to the market. They concentrate on delivering the best platform for consumers to rent streaming media. They blow the Apple TV out of the water. On that platform you can get all the exclusive content that you could ever consume. Why pay the Apple tax for low-value commodities like TV shows?

      1. Apple should not try to do just everything and focus their capacities, especially their management capacities, to some core business. Sometimes they are late to the party and simply should buy some guys who are doing a better job.

        Keep in mind Apple music. Beside the quite stupid presentation by those nonsense guy who said a lot of crap (do not like to recall his name), today Apple music is doing absolutely great. I will never go bock to another service. I love it, especially on the iPad Pro.

        For sure, to pay 3 billion for Beats was way to much, but on the other hand they now have a great service. I only wish they would have called it “Beta” in the beginning.

      1. Although Time Warner may have a lot of households, geographically there are huge areas where they don’t reach. I don’t think Apple would be interested in leaving so many of their customers out of range.

        1. The way that Timmy is leaving so many former Apple users disappointed with degraded software and stale/outdated hardware, it’s not clear that he cares about geographic reach either.

          Perhaps the problem is that Apple leadership has enough money that they’re now willing and able to make stupid decisions and not see any negative consequences.

          As much as everyone hates Wall Street, that’s the only signal that Cook seems to be listening to these days. User experience and value have not kept up across the board as well as Apple used to do in the past with MUCH less resources.

  2. Maybe it will be a new series of “Scrap Heap Chalenge” where the junk yard would make the best of us drool. The challenge is an autonomous vehicle. The contestants are various Apple teams.

    First Episode, “Team iTunes vs Team Disk Utility”

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