Apple may be following in the footsteps of Netflix and Amazon, producing original content for an upcoming streaming service. Entertainment industry insiders tell Variety that the company has been talking to Hollywood executives about the possibility of Apple funding new content in exchange for exclusive distribution rights.
Variety spoke to anonymous Hollywood sources about Apple’s original content ambitions. According to their report, a team reporting to Eddy Cue, who oversees Apple’s content strategy and helped calm Taylor Swift during the Apple Music launch, has been looking a a variety of options to build a unique media library.
It’s not clear if Apple is looking to make movies, TV shows or both, but some sources tell Variety that the company is looking to build a whole division that will be responsible for creating new content, much like Microsoft’s disbanded Xbox Entertainment Studios.
Others are a little more hesitant, saying that Apple is still exploring the original content market, and may be headed toward a model that’s seen success from Netflix and Amazon, who both finance the creation of new content but work with other firms to actually produce it.
According to many Variety sources, Apple was in talks with the stars of Top Gear to start a new car-focused show for the company. But we now know that Amazon beat them to the punch, with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May hosting a new show coming to Amazon Instant Video in 2016.
While Apple may include the original programming alongside its existing iTunes movie and TV show offerings, rumors have widely circulated that the company is working on a service to compete with Netflix or even get networks onboard with a Sling TV-like service that streams live TV.
Rumors predicted Apple was going to introduce an updated Apple TV during this summer’s WWDC, but issues with content rights holders may have held up the new streaming service, which will likely be deeply integrated into the new hardware. However, next week’s Apple event in San Francisco could bring the debut of that new hardware, with or without a new streaming service.
Even if Apple’s streaming service is introduced as “one more thing” at next week’s event, it is highly unlikely that it would contain this rumored original programming. Shows often take more than a year to get off the ground, and it appears that the talks are just beginning. But in a few years, you might see the Apple logo after the credits of the season’s must-watch TV show.