Tripp Mickle, Wall Street Journal:
Apple Inc. has set a budget of roughly $1 billion to procure and produce original content over the next year, according to people familiar with the matter, as the iPhone maker shows how serious it is about making a splash in Hollywood.
Combined with the company’s marketing clout and global reach, the step immediately makes Apple a considerable competitor in a crowded market where both new and traditional media players are vying to acquire original shows. Apple’s budget is about half what Time Warner Inc.’s HBO spent on content last year and on par with estimates of what Amazon.com Inc. spent in 2013, the year after it announced its move into original programming.
Recode’s Peter Kafka points out that Apple recently hired two Sony TV executives, and today Joe Otterson of Variety reported that ex-president of WGN Matt Cherniss will be working for the ex-Sony executives to run this division.
I sincerely hope these shows are of a far higher calibre than their poor attempts so far, but I think that requires a different kind of thinking from Apple. Autocorrect and Siri refuse to fix profanity, for example, and the rules of the App Store famously prohibit most kinds of adult-oriented apps. I don’t object to those limitations, but if similar brand-preserving restrictions were to be imposed on their television efforts, I wonder how many directors and writers would be drawn to Apple rather than, say, Netflix.
I also hope these shows are not run, like “Planet of the Apps”, through the Music app — they have a TV app. I’m not sure why, but this really bothers me.