Hollywood’s top filmmakers held secret meetings with Apple at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, according to a new report that claims Apple is planning to make a big play to take on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video by creating its own original TV shows and movies.
Apple hosted a secret ‘iTunes Lounge’ at Sundance for a number of invitation-only events for film makers, producers, actors, and other A-list talent to hear the company’s pitch on how it plans to create a ton of original content that will be exclusively available on Apple TV.
“In the weeks that followed, Apple execs were in Los Angeles hearing pitches for original TV series that it plans to launch on an ‘exclusives’ app on Apple TV and within iTunes,” reports FastCo. “Apple wants to work with ‘triple A-list’ talent, according to a source, and build up a roster of must-see shows available only on its platform. Naturally, the talks have been veiled in the utmost secrecy. Producers who have met with Apple will refer to it only as the United Fruit Company.”
Rumors of Apple creating its own TV shows and movies have floated around the internet for the last years but the company never has taken the plunge.
Striking original content deals with Hollywood’s top creators could be a great move for Apple to get more customers to adopt Apple TV. Instead of going it solo though, the company could just use its massive cash reserves, which are large enough to buy HBO, Paramount, and Warner Bros.
Getting into the content business could also hurt Apple though if it’s not careful. The company depends on content created by the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Go, and others to enterain users on Apple TV and iOS. Creating its own original content could sour Apple’s relationship with other producers.
The iPhone-maker has already started to dip its toes into original content. Apple made a Taylor Swift movie following her on her 1989 tour, while Apple exec Dr. Dre is working on a six episode TV series called Vital Signs that details his rise in the rap game. Will.i.am is also working with Apple and producers from Biggest Loser on a documentary series about app developers.
Apple media boss Eddy Cue recently said that the company’s recent original programming does not mean that they “are going into a huge amount of movie production or TV production.” However, based on rumblings from Sundance, the company is seriously considering doing a lot more than documentaries.
Five different sources who have been briefed on Apple’s plans told FastCo the effort being led by Robert Kondrk under Eddy Cue is still a bit ‘disorganized.’ Apple’s lack of a coherent strategy to replicate Netflix’s success could be a turn off for some Hollywood talent that could help Apple make the next House of Cards.