Apples $1 billion TV lineup will be family-friendly

Apple logoAccording to Bloomberg, Apple is taking a markedly different path with its streaming TV series than the likes of HBO Now or Showtime. The sources for the reportwhich include Hollywood producers and other industry insiders who have met with the company in recent monthspaint a picture of a very conservative corporation making slow progress.

They say that Apple has expressed a preference for uplifting, family-friendly shows and that it has been disinterested in other kinds of pitcheseven those from prestigious artists like Gravity's Alfonso Cuarónbecause they don't fit that mold.

Carpool Karaoke, based on the segment from CBS' The Late Late Show with James Corden, was scheduled to premiere on Apple Music in April, but it didn't. The series came out in August instead. The Bloomberg report indicates that the show was delayed because the initial cuts had swearing and "references to vaginal hygiene."

This report contradicts some of what we've seen beforefor example, The Hollywood Reporter said back in February of last year that a Dr. Dre-helmed series would include an orgy sequence. But a lot can change in this business in a year and a half, especially with new executives in the mix. More recently, news broke that Apple has picked up a reboot of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories, which may potentially be more family-friendly.

It was widely reported that Apple was planning on getting into scripted TV series in January. Apple went on to hire Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, presidents from Sony Pictures Television perhaps best known for Breaking Bad, to develop new TV content. Apple's TV content will see a $1 billion budget (though not all of that will go into production) in the coming yearwhile significant, that's nowhere close to Netflix's $8 billion. Bloomberg says Erlicht and Van Amburg plan to hire 70 staffers, "including development executives, publicists, and marketers," with the base of operations in Apple's Culver City office in Los Angeles.

Apples $1 billion TV lineup will be family-friendly

While the report suggests that certain individuals in Hollywood have walked away from meetings unimpressed with Apple's conservatism, that doesn't mean it's the wrong call. iOS devices are frequently used by young children and in many different cultural communities with many value systems. As is the case with broadcast television, it may make sense to keep content as broadly accessible as possible.

Further, Apple is clearly not trying to compete with Netflix. Neither its investment nor its content selections suggest that; in fact, the report states that Apple wishes to augment its users' existing viewing habits, not replace them. That could mean its video content is intended to be additive to your Netflix subscription.

Competition in the edgy, prestige genre is extremely fierce, with viable offerings from Netflix, HBO, Showtime, Starz, Amazon, Hulu, AMC, and more. Netflix has been investing in family-friendly shows, but it still hasn't made a strong enough case to draw many families away from traditional cable packages. Apple might be well positioned to enter the streaming TV market there since leaders are not yet entrenched.

In any case, Apple's strategy as reported here is in contrast to current trends. No one who follows Apple closely should find that surprising.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Apple

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