John Koblin at the New York Times:
Producers and entertainment executives who have met recently with Apple executives said the company has been leaning toward programming in keeping with its bright, optimistic brand identity. In other words, it seems possible that Apple will shy away from projects that are gratuitously dark or heavy on social issues. They added that the company was targeting somewhere between March 2019 and the summer of that year to roll out its slate of new programming.
That jibes with the schedule we’ve seen so far. Most of the shows we’ve heard about haven’t started production yet, which would have meant this fall at the earliest. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of sizzle reel at Apple’s September event this year, though.
One other interesting thing struck me here:
Nor has the company announced whether its projects will be behind a pay wall, but the company will most likely require viewers to have subscriptions to access its shows at some point.
The assumption has been that Apple would either bundle its TV offerings into Apple Music or have some separate package. But what if it decided to make some of its programming free at the outset? Starting a new video-streaming service from the ground up is a tough row to hoe, and we still don’t know much about the possibilities for its back-catalog library content.
Apple’s not one to shy away from a money-making opportunity, but it also has the financial ability to dangle some free options to try and get people to subscribe down the road. Some of it depends on how many series the company plans on launching at once, whether it’s a full slate, or merely a show or two dribbled out at a time.
Many of the single networks—CBS and Start being the two I’ve most recently subscribed to—offer a week or so free, but I’d be surprised if Apple didn’t offer a month free at least. After all, it offered three months free with Apple Music—wouldn’t that be an interesting pattern to continue?