Apple ‘dips toe’ in original TV content

Apple CEO outlines plans for original content in 2017

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has laid down the foundations of his plans to expand into original TV content, promising there are “more things planned” for Apple TV in 2017 that could see the media company compete with the likes of Netflix, Amazon and perhaps even Facebook.

The iPhone-maker put a “toe in the water” after it bought popular online TV format Carpool Karaoke last July. It was also found to be the commissioner for the music video for Hotline Bling by Drake, which was released exclusively on Apple Music at the end of 2015 - its first foray into original video programming.

When quizzed on plans to build out its original content in 2017, Cook said that he expects Apple to “participate in the changes that are going on in the media industry”, which will be accelerated from the cable bundle “beginning to break down”, he told analysts on a call.

Original content for Apple Music “will be rolling out through the year”, he added, with “more things planned” for the latest rendition of Apple TV, which he said “gives us a clear platform to build off”.

“We're learning a lot about the original content business and thinking about ways that we could play at that,” he said.

It confirms what reports have suggested in recent months about Apple’s plans to act as a serious contender in TV content as the shift from linear to on-demand has widened the playing field of what is possible.

In January is was reported that Apple has been in talks with TV producers in recent months about buying original scripted content, and with marketing executives at studios and networks about promoting this content. Apple said that it hopes to start offering original scripted content by the end of 2017.

It follows in the footsteps of Netflix and Amazon, who have committed huge budgets to commissioning original content in recent years, and are beginning to reap the rewards. Netflix’s original shows The Crown and Stranger Things have scooped Golden Globes and SAG awards, while Amazon original movie Manchester by the Sea has scored the first Oscar nomination for a video streaming service.

The media company might also find itself competing with social network Facebook, which is thought to be in similar talks with publishers and broadcasters about commissioning original, long-form content for the platform.

This could see the Mark Zuckerberg-owned company build out an Instant Articles-style platform to house TV content, something speculated by director of agency partnerships Ed Couchman last year, that would solidify the platform's efforts to act as a one-stop-shop media company.

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