Apple could offer original scripted TV content by end of 2017

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Could Apple challenge shows like Netflix's Stranger Things
Photo: Netflix

Move over The Crown and Stranger Things! Apple is planning to enter the original TV shows and movies market, according to a new report.

The Wall Street Journal claims Apple has been in talks with “veteran producers” over the past few months about buying the rights to existing shows, and has also told them that it has plans to create its own programming — although those efforts are still in the early stages.

Interestingly, the report suggests this content would be available to Apple Music subscribers, as opposed to being part of a dedicated subscription TV package, similar to Netflix.

The report says Apple hopes to offer original scripted content by the end of 2017, which doesn’t leave much time if this is to extend beyond the Apple-produced material we already know about.

Apple has so far dipped its toe tentatively in the pool of original content by planning a TV series of Carpool Karaoke, which will feature different pairs of musicians and celebrities for a 16-episode run.

Another unscripted Apple TV show, called Planet of the Apps, will feature Jessica Alba, Will.i.Am, Gwyneth Paltrow and Gary Vaynerchuk, possibly in a sort of Shark Tank for app developers.

The company has also experimented with long-form documentaries such as The Cash Money Story, about popular hip-hop label Cash Money Records, and another about the cultural impact of the Roland TR-808 drum machine.

In addition, Apple produced Drake’s video for “One Dance,” Eminem’s “Phenomenal” and Pharrell’s “Happy” music videos, alongside a 45-minute “visual album” from Grammy-winning artist Frank Ocean.

A potential ace up its sleeve

Compared with Netflix and Amazon, however, Apple hasn’t really committed to original programming, and certainly hasn’t proven willing to splash some of its considerable cash reserves on big-budget dramas like Netflix’s House of Cards or Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle.

According to today’s report, one ace Apple potentially has up its sleeve is a willingness to “share data on how many people watch its original content and some demographic data on them.”

Netflix doesn’t share this information with content creators, although it does use it to make internal decisions about which shows to commission.

A move like that would seem to fly in the face of Apple’s public stance on user privacy, especially in the wake of last year’s FBI standoff.

Ultimately, though, I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for original Apple TV content.

It makes perfect sense as Apple embraces a business model built around services, and it could definitely help Apple Music compete with Spotify, but we’ve also been here before on the original programming debate — and nothing’s turned up yet.

Do you think Apple could compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon in this capacity? Leave your comments below.

Source: The Wall Street Journal