Apple Reportedly Plans to Launch Scripted TV, Movies This Year

Tim Cook speaks during an Apple Event
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., speaks during an event at the company's headquarters on Oct. 27, 2016 Cupertino, Calif.

The original programming would be included in subscriptions for Apple Music.

In a move that would pit it against the likes of Netflix, Amazon and HBO, Apple is reportedly on the cusp of unveiling film and TV programming of its own. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple wants to "build a significant new business in original television shows and movies," a move that could raise its profile in Hollywood and potentially soften the financial blow from slowing hardware (iPhones, iPads) sales across the company.

WSJ sources said the original programming could arrive by the end of 2017 and would be included in subscriptions for Apple Music, much like Amazon does with its Prime service. Apple Music currently has roughly 20 million subscribers paying $10 per month -- that's half of Spotify's paid user totals -- so adding premium video content as an incentive could make a difference in closing that gap.

(Apple may have provided a clue to its programming aspirations with the hiring last year of Scott Seviour, a veteran marketing executive whose resume includes RCA and ABC News, to Apple Music's original content team.)

Apple is apparently eying scripted TV first, with original movies coming later. According to the report, the tech giant has been talking with various stakeholders in recent months in order to secure rights to the scripted shows, and has been formulating plans on how to promote the content. 

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Such a move into scripted content from outside producers would be a first for Apple, which has so far only dabbled in music-related nonfiction and documentaries in the video arena. Apple's in-house, semi-autobiographical TV series featuring Dr. Dre began shooting early last year, and the company also acquired the rights to James Corden's smash "Carpool Karaoke" concept, with plans to make it into a half-hour show.

This is a developing story...


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