Apple is a new player in the TV market, joining big players Amazon and Netflix in video streaming with a $1 B investment in original programming in the next 12 months.
Apple’s new TV show ambitions became evident with its ‘Planet of the Apps’ reality TV show available via Apple Music, headlined by Hollywood actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba earlier in June 2017. The two women are also entrepreneurs of lifestyle brands Goop and Honest Company respectively, serve as judges on the new show where contestants pitch their app concepts.
The new Planet of Apps TV show premiered on June 6 at 9 p.m. PT. Aspiring app developers pitch their apps to the judging panel that includes the two women entrepreneurs as well as will.i.am and Gary Vaynerchuk. A portion of the $10 million of venture capital investment is available for grabs as well as a featured placement on the App Store. Each app developer has 60 seconds to convince at least one of the judges to hear the rest of the pitch.
The first episode was available on iTunes and www.planetoftheapps.com for free. The remainder will now be available only through Apple Music on every Tuesday evening. The show’s executive producer Ben Silverman describes app development as “where where almost every young kid’s fantasy lives, and it’s the new American dream.”
Apple’s new initiative will offer scripted shows and original programming available via its Apple TV.
Apple has hired two well known television executives Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amberg, both formerly at Sony and working in LA, to produce and buy television shows and films for Apple Music and other future video streaming products. Apple executive Jimmy Iovine had told Bloomberg News that Apple would release up to 10 original shows by the end of the year.
A significantly less budget than Amazon’s investment of $4.5 billion or Netflix’s outlay of $6 billion for new content, Apple’s investment of $1 billion is still sizable and places the company as a strong contender. Through this investment, Apple is growing its service business making it a ‘one stop shop’ in many ways for pop culture and technology. Even Google has joined the fray, spending millions on making TV shows through YouTube as streaming TV has gone from a fashionable outlet to a booming industry.
Matt Cherniss, former president of Tribune Media at the WGN America cable network, is now head of development, reporting to Van Hamburg and Erlicht, both of whom report to Apple services chief Eddy Cue. “There is much more to come,” Eddy Cue has teased, but not offered any more specifics on.
Apple’s two C-level hires are well respected in the industry working at Sony Pictures Television, working in all mediums and genres. The variety of shows that Erlicht and Van Amburg offered while running Sony’s new scripting since 2005 include Damages, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Drop Dead Diva, Community, Justified, Happy Endings, Hannibal, Masters of Sex and Underground.
Apple’s move to hire Sony executives indicate that they may be building a traditional TV studio. However, whether they will offer subscription plans and the details of their streaming network remains unknown.