Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Apple gets into the TV business, but denies they're buying up shows

Written by Jeff Baumgartner — Apple will use original series, including a new reality show called Planet of the Apps, to boost its subscription music business, company exec Eddy Cue confirmed this week at Recode’s Code Media conference.

Cue, Apple’s SVP of Internet software and services, said the original series is “one of the differentiating factors we can add to Apple Music. He said the music service now has more than 20 million users.

Apple is also setting the release of another original, Carpool Karaoke: The Series, which will also be distributed by Apple Music. Planet of the Apps, a series about apps and their creators features Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gary Vaynerchuk, and, and is produced by Propagate Content chairman and co-CEO Ben Silverman, the former co-chairman of NBC Universal and Universal Media Studios, who joined Cue on-stage.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was seeking to form a new business focused on high-quality original TV shows and movies and to start offering scripted content by the end of this year. But rather than using that strategy to go after OTT video giants like Amazon and Netflix, the content strategy is to center around Apple Music as it continues to grapple with rival music streaming service Spotify.

"We're not out trying to buy a bunch of shows, we're trying to do some things that are creative, that can, we think, move culture and that Apple is adding some value to" he said.

Cue said the move into original TV content doesn’t mean Apple is gearing up to buy a big media company like Lionsgate or Time Warner.

“We are trying to do something that’s unique, takes advantage of our platforms and that really brings culture to it,” Cue said. “Right now, we think we can do that with partners like Ben, and we don’t see that anywhere else.”

Last year, Apple hired former Time Warner Cable exec Peter Stern in a VP role focused on the company’s subscription services, including Apple Music.

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