Eddy Cue, head of iTunes, opened up about Apple’s plans for original TV content during an interview at the SXSW conference. He said that “we’re all in” and that Apple is focusing on quality over quantity.
Quality over quantity
Apple has been experimenting with original video content released onto Apple Music but the company has grander ambitions, according to the executive in charge of the plan.
- "We're completely all in," said Eddy Cue, SVP of internet services including iTunes, and added: "We're making big investments. Money isn't an issue."
He explained that Apple is focusing on quality over quantity with long-form video genres such as movies and TV series rather than shorter clips for mobile devices. It is not clear how the company is planning to sell this content.
Eddy Cue said that Apple is not interested in acquiring Netflix or Disney but acknowledged that the company has very little experience in the area.
- “We don’t know anything about making television,” said Eddy Cue.
Instead, it has focused on building a strong team to lead its foray into original programming. The team has grown to about 40 people and is led by former Sony Pictures executives. Apple will be bringing the technology and Cue teased that it has a “surprise” in store for viewers.
The company has yet to launch a subscription video service but it operates a subscription music service in the form of Apple Music that has grown from zero to 38 million paying users over the last two and a half years. That is about half the number of Spotify’s paying user base but it took Spotify more than 7 years to reach the 38 million mark. There are more than 1.3 billion Apple devices in use that can serve as a launching pad for new services.
Content by Steven Spielberg & others
Hollywood media outlets have reported on 12 upcoming series or shows from Apple. It is certainly possible that more are underway.
Upcoming original programming from Apple includes:
Amazing Stories by Steven Spielberg
Untitled sci-fi drama by Ronald D. Moore
Untitled psychological thriller (series) produced by M. Night Shyamalan
Drama series by Damien Chazelle, creator of La La Land
Drama series See by Francis Lawrence and Steven Knight
Documentary series Home about extraordinary homes
Anthology series Little America by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon
Drama series Swagger based on NBA star Kevin Durant
Untitled comedy series with Kristen Wiig
Drama thriller series Are you Sleeping by Nichelle Tramble Spellman
Animated comedy series Central Park by Loren Bouchard
Untitled morning show starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon
Eddy Cue said that Apple furthermore wants to “augment the experience” of sports rather than investing in exclusive live content by sending out notifications, showing stats etc.
We now have a better idea of Apple’s plans for original TV content but there are still plenty of unanswered questions. Will the company launch its own video streaming service? Is Apple planning to compete with Amazon and Netflix? 12 titles are far from enough so when can we expect this pool of content to be released? For a company that has annual revenue of more than 200 billion dollars, using a phrase like “all in” certainly sets high expectations.