Apple is continuing its strong push into the original TV content market, according to a recent feature in the Hollywood Reporter detailing the company’s plans and efforts.
Reportedly, Apple is being “inundated” with spec scripts and packaged projects as the company looks to create its own offering of high-end, “prestige” TV content. According to several sources familiar with Apple’s plans, the company is looking specifically for “big, smart, splashy dramas” akin to Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad or The Crown.
The tech giant’s Los Angeles-based executives have apparently been spotted all over Hollywood meeting with agents and studio executives. Among Apple’s L.A. team are Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, two former Sony executives poached by the company earlier this year to head its TV content division.
Cupertino isn’t looking to “replicate the pace or scale” of rivals like Netflix, which spends about $6 billion annually on original content. But the company is steadily edging in on the TV and movie business, as multiple reports over the last few months indicate. And the talent is already lining up.
“There’s this sense of, ‘It’s the most innovative company in the world, of course you want to have a show there,’” UTA TV’s Matt Rice told the Reporter. UTA TV is just one of several agencies sending scripts and projects to Apple for consideration.
While Apple is a relative newcomer to Hollywood, its Culver City-based studio has already “leap-frogged” much of its competition. Several agents told The Hollywood Reporter that a project that might be pitched to Netflix or HBO is now being taken to Apple, as well. Part of its “overnight” credibility might be due to the established reputation of Van Amburg and Erlicht. Alternatively, it might be Apple’s own clout in the tech world or its comparatively deep pockets.
The company isn’t looking to sacrifice quality for haste, however. While Apple is still being “deluged with nearly every script in town,” Apple’s TV team has passed on most of them. On the other hand, some of the projects still being considered include a reboot of Steve Spielberg’s Amazing Stories and a drama headed by Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.
But Apple’s unique position in Hollywood has many in the industry asking tough questions — particularly where and how Apple’s premium content will be streamed. Others are proposing theories that Apple could use every available asset — from Apple Store screens to iPhones — to market its original content. For the most part, many of these questions have remained unanswered. Apple, ever secretive with its plans, declined to comment.
Chris Silbermann, managing director at talent agency ICM Partners, said that Apple needs to “articulate to the creative community and the industry at large” its strategies on marketing, release and distribution. “Simply, what does it mean to be an Apple show?” Silbermann said.