Apple is planning to unveil its new Apple TV set top box in a little over a week, and it looks like the company may be considering funding its own TV shows to go with its big play to dominate the living room.
The iPhone maker has held preliminary conversations in recent weeks with executives in Hollywood to feel out interest in Apple spearheading efforts to produce original entertainment content, according to a new report that claims Apple is ready to take on Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime video.
The unit putting out feelers reports to Eddy Cue, claims Variety, which says Apple made an unprecedented bid to secure the stars of Top gear when Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond exited the series from BBC earlier this year.
“Apple’s ambitions vary depending on whom is asked, but one high-level executive who talked with the company said the goal is to create development and production divisions that would churn out long-form content to stream in a bid to compete with Netflix,” reports Variety.
A headhunting firm has already been put in charge of hiring, according to Variety’s source. Apple plans to get its original content arm operating by next year, but it’s unknown whether the company plans to focus on TV series or movies. The company’s foray into original content could upset Apple TV partners like Netflix, HBO and Hulu, which provide streaming access to their own original shows on Cupertino’s set-top box.
Apple has quietly snapped up content on the festival circuit for distribution on iTunes for years. However, some of Variety’s sources dismiss Apple’s interest in original content as more of a flirtation than anything. It appears the company’s efforts are escalating, but it’s unlikely that we’ll see Apple’s answer to Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead until the end of 2016.