In an aggressive move to position itself in the video streaming market, Apple has struck a deal with Hollywood heavyweight Steven Spielberg that will see it begin to produce original content.
According to the terms of the agreement, which was made public on October 10, the creator of box office hits such as Jaws, ET the Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic Park will make 10 new episodes of his 1980s science fiction series Amazing Stories. The series was first aired by NBC in the 1980s, but its revival will be exclusively part of Apple’s digital content offering.
In its first ever television project, Apple will disburse “significantly more” than $5m per episode, sources told The Wall Street Journal. This amount is not rare in the industry: other competitors are also investing heavily, with HBO spending as much as $10m per episode of the seventh season of Games of Thrones.
How and when Apple will deliver the new series is still unknown. For now, Apple’s video offering is contained in its platform iTunes, better known for its music. However, even though nothing has been revealed yet, rumours about an Apple-branded service similar to Netflix have been spreading since the company set a $1bn budget to acquire and produce video content.
Rumours about an Apple-branded service similar to Netflix have been spreading since the company set a $1bn budget to acquire and produce video content
Moreover, Apple made strategic new hires in June, when Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg – two former Sony executives related to productions like Breaking Bad – joined the company. The Cupertino-based giant gave them new positions as co-heads of video programming.
The deal between Apple and Spielberg’s Amblin Television – along with Universal Television, a unit of Comcast’s NBCUniversal – has been billed as Erlicht and Van Amburg’s first big bet.
“We love being at the forefront of Apple’s investment in scripted programming,” Jennifer Salke, Entertainment President at NBC, said in a statement.
While other companies such as Netflix and Amazon are moving fast to conquer the global video streaming market, Apple is still trying to catch up. Furthermore, the recent foray also represents an attempt by the tech giant to diversify its business.
At present, its flagship product – the iPhone – accounts for more than half of Apple’s revenue. The new deal therefore demonstrates the firm’s decision to get a slice of the rapidly growing video streaming market.
Look out for a special report on the growth of the video streaming market in the upcoming issue of The New Economy