Apple may finally get serious about original TV shows. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple has come around to the idea of buying scripted TV series from outside producers and is thought to be looking for something that could become comparable in popularity to Westworld or Stranger Things.
The TV series would reportedly be bundled with Apple Music, Apple’s $9.99 per month subscription service, as a way to help it stand out from Spotify. Spotify by and large offers the same library of music as Apple Music, and it’s generally thought to have a better interface and recommendations. A few good TV series could help to differentiate Apple Music in a real way, even if it strays from the service’s core focus — music.
The Journal says Apple’s goal does not appear to be competing with Netflix or Amazon, let alone cable, on original video.
Apple is hoping to debut its own scripted TV series by the end of the year, according to the Journal. That’s a quick timeline, though the Journal could be referring the scripted Dr. Dre series that Apple put into the works, with Dre starring and executive producing, last year.
In many ways, despite details saying that Apple is about ready to buckle down and buy some shows, this report makes Apple’s plans for original content continue to sound tentative and uncertain. It’s still in talks over shows, remains undecided on buying movies, doesn’t have a concrete business strategy, and is seemingly unwilling to spend all that much money on this effort, according to the report.
It’s entirely possible this just means Apple is approaching the difficult jump into original content with caution. But it could also mean that Apple is underestimating the work and money that goes into picking and crafting great original series — after all, HBO may have Westworld and Netflix may have Stranger Things, but both also have their many misses.
In addition to its six-episode Dre series, Apple has also picked up a spinoff of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke segment. Apple has ordered 16 episodes, though it’s not clear when they’ll premiere.