Apple’s sets its sights on Hollywood with plans for original content

Wall Street Journal:

Apple Inc. is planning to build a significant new business in original television shows and movies, according to people familiar with the matter, a move that could make it a bigger player in Hollywood and offset slowing sales of iPhones and iPads.

These people said the programming would be available to subscribers of Apple’s $10-a-month streaming-music service, which has struggled to catch up to the larger Spotify AB. Apple Music already includes a limited number of documentary-style segments on musicians, but nothing like the premium programming it is now seeking.

The technology giant has been in talks with veteran producers in recent months about buying rights to scripted television programs. It also has approached experienced marketing executives at studios and networks to discuss hiring them to promote its content, said people with knowledge of the discussions.


In addition to TV, Apple indicated to these people that it is considering offering original movies, though those plans are more preliminary.

Executives at Apple have told people in Hollywood they hope to start offering original scripted content by the end of 2017.

Strikes me as an approach similar to Amazon’s. Amazon offers free video content with your Prime subscription. Pay for free shipping, we’ll sweeten the deal with a range of original, high quality content.

As far as I know, Amazon has not yet made any bundle deals for their content, corralling their offerings inside their ecosystem. Will Apple do the same? It certainly would swing customers away from Spotify towards Apple Music. And, if the video offerings were substantial enough, some customers would sign up for the video and look at the music as a nice side benefit.