Apple TV+ shows are about ‘quality,’ not demographics


New episodes of The Morning Show, See, and For All Mankind are up
Apple is taking a different approach to commissioning than Netflix.
Photo: Apple

Apple isn’t just taking on Netflix’s business with Apple TV+; it’s also challenging its philosophy for commissioning shows.

In a new article for Wired, Apple TV+ boss Zack Van Amburg says that the company is going on gut instinct for its new shows. That’s vastly different to Netflix’s famously data-driven approach to commissioning.

Netflix launched its own shows in 2013 with House of Cards. It famously took a data-driven approach to commissioning. It used data from its 25 million users to find trends and correlations in what people watched. It then commissioned shows especially to target those users.

While Apple clearly has plenty of data at its disposal, it appears to be taking a different approach. “We’re not doing demographic programming,” Van Amburg said. “No one here is sitting around saying we need to find the next show for males 18 to 34, or the next show for females older than 32. We’re defining our programming by quality.”

Apple TV+: Listen to your heart, not the data

While the comparison isn’t made in the piece, it’s interesting to note that this is something similar to the strategy Apple has taken with Apple Music and Apple News+. Where rival services like Spotify focus on algorithms, Apple Music executives have always talked about curation and human decision-making. A similar thing is true for Apple News+.

Whether this works out for Apple TV+ remains to be seen. It certainly seems that Apple TV+ is taking a progressive stance in its programming, embracing social issues such as the #MeToo debate. Not being subservient to the data is quite a rare stance to take among Silicon Valley tech companies. It’ll be interesting to follow how Apple TV+ does in this regard. And whether it changes its approach when the hits or misses roll in.

You can check out Wired‘s article here. In addition the tidbit mentioned here, it focuses on the making of For All Mankind, Apple TV+’s space drama.