Right now, Apple is snapping up new TV shows, movies and other video content like a shopping addict on Black Friday.
Its latest deal? Getting a “first look” deal for documentaries created by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries. Imagine has made a wide variety of non-fiction shows and feature-length productions, including The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — the Touring Years, Jay-Z’s Made in America, Katy Perry: Part of Me, and more.
Current documentaries being created by the company include She the People, in which “actress-playwright Sarah Jones [travels] the country to examine issues of sex and power for women,” and a documentary by Bryce Dallas Howard (daughter of Ron Howard), taking a humorous look at modern fatherhood.
A “first look” deal seemingly doesn’t obligate Apple to acquire these films, but rather gives it a first refusal chance to snap them up before they are offered elsewhere.
Apple is taking documentary seriously
It’s an interesting move because it shows that Apple, like Netflix, is keen to make non-fiction a big part of its service. Apple has already dipped its toe into this area with its production of reality TV shows such as Planet of the Apps.
It has also acquired a range of music-related documentaries, many with a hip hop flavor, which have been made available via Apple Music. In September, Apple bought the right to the feature documentary The Elephant Queen. It will be screening this month at the Sundance Film Festival.
Apple’s not yet revealed exactly how it plans to distribute its shows. However, the most popular theory is that it will give them away to customers as a loss leader for promoting the use of Apple products. Its total budget for original content supposedly exceeds $1 billion.
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