Over the last few years, Netflix has undergone a rather impressive transformation. In what seems like a blink of an eye, Netflix morphed from a company that mailed out DVDs into a bona-fide streaming juggernaut with a market cap that now exceeds Disney. At the core of Netflix’s streaming success has been its obsession with churning out an endless stream of original content. As Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos explained a few years ago, Netflix’s goal was to “become HBO faster than HBO can become us.”
While Netflix appreciated the importance of having a large catalog of original programming across a multitude of genres, the same can’t be said of Apple. At this point, it’s no secret that Apple has a genuine interest in the TV space. After the lackluster rollout of Planet of the Apps and the needless remake that was Carpool Karaoke, Apple has since taken its TV efforts far more seriously by inking a number of deals with high-profile individuals like Damien Chazelle, the mastermind behind hit films like La La Land and Whiplash. Still, Apple only has about 13 planned shows at this point, a fact which 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch categorized as nothing more than a “dabbling.”
The implication of Murdoch’s remark is that Apple will have to step its game up if it really wants a chance to make an impact in the entertainment space. Murdoch’s remarks were made during his appearance at Recode’s Code Conference and read in part:
So, I think the one issue that we see with the kind of, you know, the dabbling, right? If you look at an apple. Is it … Going piece by piece, one by one, show by show, et cetera, is gonna take a long time to really move the dial and having something mega.
I do think that’s gonna be very challenging. But look at the kind of investment that Netflix is required to make in anticipation of potentially their not being able to acquire rights from outside programmers. They’re just doing a huge amount of original production.
It’s a valid point. In June alone, Netflix is planning to release 39 new original TV shows and movies. While it’s foolish to expect Apple to be at that level at the start, 13 original shows — even when bundled with an Apple Music subscription — isn’t exactly the type of offering capable of moving the needle.
In its defense, Apple is still trying to figure out a space its somewhat oblivious too, which is to say that taking a slow and steady approach at first may be beneficial. That said, if Apple truly wants to become a major player in the TV space, it will eventually have to take a page out of Netflix’s own playbook and invest a whole a lot of money in developing a wide range of shows across a multitude of different genres.