Andrew Wallenstein at Variety:
Apple is exploring getting into the original programming business.
Sources indicate the Cupertino, Calif., colossus has held preliminary conversations in recent weeks with executives in Hollywood to suss out their interest in spearheading efforts to produce entertainment content. The unit putting out the feelers reports into Eddy Cue, who is Apple’s point man on all content-related matters, from its negotiations with programmers for Apple TV to its recent faceoff with Taylor Swift.
The scale of Apple’s ambitions vary depending on whom is asked, but one high-level executive who talked with the company said the goal is to create development and production divisions that would churn out long-form content to stream in a bid to compete with Netflix. Apple is hoping to put a headhunting firm on those hires in the coming months, according to source, with the goal of being in operation next year. Unknown is whether the focus is on TV series, movies — or both.
On the one hand, Apple’s got a lot of money, and exclusive content is a differentiator in the entertainment market, whether or not consumers like it. On the other hand, creating content has never been in Apple’s wheelhouse—even Apple Music and Beats One are about curation of other people’s content—and as Microsoft found out, being a movie or TV studio can be a tough game.
My gut feeling is that this is the sort of game Apple just shouldn’t play.