Apple’s growing services business will soon feature original podcasts, according to a report that, if true, amps up the tech giant’s battle with rival Spotify.
Apple’s pursuit of original podcast content came to light via a news bulletin from a Bloomberg terminal. Even before the full story published, the news sent Spotify’s stock on a fall of more than 2 percent.
Chris “Captain America” Evans is the latest star to sign on for an original Apple TV series. Evans will star in and executive-produce Defending Jacob, a limited series based on a best-selling novel from 2012.
It follows the story of a father whose teenage son is accused of murder. Defending Jacob will be Evans’ first non-movie role since he starred in the Opposite Sex miniseries way back in 2000.
Apple may be commissioning its own TV shows, but it’s also picking up finished productions, too. With that goal in mind, Apple is sending some of its top production names to the Toronto International Film Festival this week to try and acquire new content.
According to trade magazine Variety, at least one of Apple’s top entertainment programming execs, Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, will be in attendance at the festival — and they’ll have “checkbooks in hand.”
A director known for ER, The West Wing and Shameless episodes, and even the Deep Impact disaster movie, will go behind the camera for one of the many TV shows Apple is producing. Mimi Leder reportedly agreed to take on the upcoming program starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.
The drama, which doesn’t yet have a name, will be set behind the scenes at a fictional morning TV show.
As part of its push into original video content, Apple signed a Writers Guild of America master contract promising writers greater benefits.
The deal means that scribes employed by Apple to work on its growing list of projects will receive script fees, weekly payments and residuals on shows that air for free. This is a better deal for writers than the current baseline agreement on offer.
As the current king of the streaming video world, Netflix knows it’s got a target on its back — and it’s certainly sweating because Apple wants to steal its crown. So Netflix is using a tactic once employed by Apple, positioning itself as a scrappy, nimble upstart able to easily outflank its deep-pocketed adversaries.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings even called his company “the anti-Apple” this weekend, painting Cupertino as a secretive company limited in its operational speed by obsessive top-down control.
That’s a misreading of the situation, and a serious strategic mistake. In fact, if Netflix misplays its cards, it could find itself Sherlocked.