Over the past few months, Apple has been busy inking original content deals with some of the top creatives in Hollywood. Last year, for example, word emerged that Apple struck a deal for an original film series from acclaimed writer and director Damien Chazelle, the creative force between films such as La La Land and Whiplash.
Apple of course hasn’t commented on what it plans to do with the growing library of video content its amassing, but it’s no secret that the company is planning to make a big splash into the world of online streaming. Now comes word from The Information that Apple’s budding TV streaming service is set to launch sometime in mid-April. While details remain scarce, previous reports have indicated that Apple’s streaming TV service will be free for iOS users and will be available in 100 countries at launch.
It will be interesting to see how Apple’s TV plans unfold, especially given that it’s hard to get a read on Apple’s overarching goals here. Presumably the company isn’t looking to take on entrenched players like HBO and Netflix. If that was the case, Apple would not only need a lot more original programming, it would also need to focus on licensing third-party content from outside media companies.
Will original programming be used as a lure to bring new iOS users into the mix? Perhaps, but it’s realistically hard to imagine Android users migrating over to the iPhone for free original content when it’s already hard to keep up with the offerings available on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and HBO.
Another issue that will be interesting to keep an eye on centers on how Apple plans to handle adult-oriented programs which feature drug-use, violence, and strong sexual content. If you recall, Tim Cook a few months ago reportedly axed a Dr. Dre biopic dubbed Vital Signs on account of objectionable content. The reality, though, is that Apple will have to embrace the uncomfortable if it wants its streaming service to make even the tiniest of dents in the marketplace. Sure, there’s a place for wholesome content like Stranger Things, but the success of HBO’s Game of Thrones — which is filled to the brim with violence and sex — underscores the need for Apple to be a bit more open about which shows it chooses to bring to air.
As it stands now, Apple has a little more than 20 shows in the works. Looking ahead, it remains to be seen how many will actually be available when the company’s nascent streaming service launches in just about three months.