Apple is spending upwards of $1 billion making original TV shows, but little has been publicly said about the initiative just yet. According to Netflix’s chief content officer, not only are customers in the dark about how Apple will make its shows available — even the folks making the shows for Apple don’t know.
Speaking at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in Los Angeles, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos said that, “I don’t have any idea what that Apple product is going to be. I don’t think anybody does. I don’t think people making shows for them have any idea.”
What’s more, Netflix isn’t worried!
Sarandos continued that Netflix isn’t too concerned about Apple’s impending arrival in the original content space, adding that Netflix doesn’t, “put much focus on any competitor.”
This isn’t the first time that Netflix has cast Apple as an overly secretive company, possibly to its detriment as a content creator. In April this year, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings called Netflix, “the anti-Apple,” claiming that Cupertino’s operational speed in this space is limited by obsessive top-down control.
At the time, I wrote an op-ed listing the reasons why Hastings was wrong to underestimate Apple. Since then, some of what he said has been somewhat borne out, however. While I stand by the argument that rivals underestimate Apple to their peril, a recent report from the Wall Street Journal noted that there is an internal clash within Apple over whether to make edgier or squeaky clean content. A number of creators have left Apple after seemingly disagreeing with the direction that it wants to take its programming. That does at least give some credence to Sarandos’ suggestion that some of the people making series for Apple are unclear on the company’s philosophy to content making.
At present, Apple hasn’t spelled out how its original shows — of which upwards of 20 are now in production — will be seen. One popular theory suggests that Apple may launch its own Netflix-style service. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple has pushed the debut of its first TV drama shows back to next March, although there is the possibility they will be delayed again.
Are you confident in Apple’s ability to deliver high quality original TV series? How do you think the company should distribute them? Let us know in the comments below.