The cord-cutting trend, and the runaway success that Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Hulu and other streamers that produce original content have become, aren't going unnoticed at Apple. Last summer, rumor had it that Apple is circling the wagons to try and launch no less than ten new shows and other original content in the next year or so, and the plan for its own streaming offer seems to be on track.
Tucked in a report on Apple's upcoming original video content service is a citation from a "TV executive who has talked to Apple
," claiming that the team from Cupertino will launch its shows as a standalone subscription that may undercut Netflix prices. The standard subscription at Netflix now costs $11 a month in the US, so Apple may price its video entertainment at $9.99, just like it does with Apple Music. Alternatively, the publication says, there might be some sort of a grand bargain on a package that includes video, music, as well as extras like AppleCare.
With an installed base of more than a billion potential viewers who are used to paying for media through iTunes, Apple could immediately become the next big thing on the trendy "what to watch" block. Unlike Netflix, however, whose stratospheric rise is fueled by copious amounts of debt, Apple will apparently take a more measured approach, earmarking "just" a billion for testing the original content streaming waters. That's not to say that the team from Cupertino is not ambitious, though - Eddy Cue is on record saying that they want to acquire or produce shows on the level of Game of Thrones, and, knowing Apple's money, they could very well do so. For comparison, HBO spends two billion on original programming, and Apple could easily double or triple the amount invested if the shoe fits.
Netflix is way ahead with $7 billion earmarked for spending on own shows and content this year, though there is a lot of fluff in it, while Apple usually takes a more targeted approach when it comes to quality, regardless of what one might think about shows like Planet of the Apps
. On the other hand, subscribing to Netflix or HBO Go via the App Store nets Apple 15% each time, so it has to be careful not to antagonize those streamers too much, now that its revenue from various digital services is skyrocketing, compared to hardware sales.
Apple has already poached plenty of entertainment industry names, too, so it finally seems bent on building a proper media empire. Here are all the shows that it is rumored to be working on for the launch of its new streaming service:
Oprah has reportedly entered a "multi-year content partnership" with Apple to produce, well, original content of unknown format. That's a big score, considering that Oprah, who does side jobs that don't break her contract with Discovery Communications, has managed to make a hit of everything she touches, including the Oscar-winning "Selma," where her company is a producer.
Given the success of the retro-feeling "Stranger Things," Apple reported reboot of Steven Spielberg's "Amazing Stories" hit from the 80s might turn out to be a gold mine, especially with M. Night Shyamalan as a producer. At $5 million a pop, it better work.
"Central Park" animated comedy
Like Bob's Burgers? Well, its creator is said to be working with Apple on an exclusive "Central Park" comedy series. Loren Bouchard has reportedly been ordered a two-season series, co-written with Josh Gad and Nora Smith. The premise is that a family who live in Central Park, go on a mission of saving the planet via saving the park, and it's all allegedly a "musical comedy." Well, we'd love to see that one.
"Little America" series
Dubbed "an anthology for immigrants," a new show is being developed for Apple by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, co-created with the Master of None's Alan Yang. These will be half-hour episodes based on true stories about "the funny, romantic, heartfelt, inspiring and unexpected lives of immigrants in America, at a time when their stories are more relevant than ever."
La La Land producer series
Damien Chazelle, of La La Land fame, is going to be making, well, something, for Apple, and the straight-to-series order is reportedly going to be both scripted and directed by him. Another musical? Well, we'd wager to guess no, as Damien already has a Parisian nightclub musical series dubbed The Eddy for Netflix, so he might go into a different direction for Apple.
Reese Witherspoon - from morning show dramas to comedy series
Apple's comedy and drama orders reportedly continue with multiple shows brought on by Reese Witherspoon. One is a morning news TV series drama (or, maybe, we should stop calling them TV shows) with Jennifer Anniston, and scripted by the House of Cards' Jay Carson. Another Reese Witherspoon mention is as a producer, this time for a "You Think It, I’ll Say It" scripted comedy by Apple, starring Kristen Wiig, of which there are reportedly 10 episodes already ordered.
"Are You Sleeping?" with Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul
Aaron Paul, of Breaking Bad fame, will be playing a convicted murderer in an Octavia Spencer drama called "Are You Sleeping?" No, with this lineup, Apple doesn't seem to be sleeping at all.
As you can see, Apple already has the promised ten new series and project in development or ordered for its future original video content streaming service, and there are quite a lot of potential hits there. Mum's the word on pricing yet, but if it undercuts Netflix, and/or bundles it with its media streamers like Music, in addition to other Apple services, the chances for success are huge, given the cash pile and the 1+ billion potential subscribers. Apple Stream and chill?