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Businesses The Almighty Buck Apple Entertainment

Apple Is Bringing a Billion Dollar Checkbook To Hollywood and Wants To Buy 10 TV Shows (recode.net) 79

Apple is officially open for business in Hollywood. From a report: The company is telling content makers it wants to spend $1 billion on its own stuff over the next year. That's music to studios' ears, and a tune they have been expecting for some time -- especially after Apple hired two top Sony TV executives in June. We still don't know what Apple wants to do with that content: The Wall Street Journal says Apple wants to make up to 10 "Game of Thrones" -- or "House of Cards"-scale shows, but that's not enough to launch a full-scale subscription service.
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Apple Is Bringing a Billion Dollar Checkbook To Hollywood and Wants To Buy 10 TV Shows

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    good luck apple

  • by Anonymous Coward

    1/6th Netflix content Budget
    1/4th Amazon content Budget

    I can't wait to view more quality content like Planet of the Apps on my approved Apple iDevices!

    • And less than half percent of their cash on hand, they could pay this off just with other companies' dividends.

      This balkanization is not good for customers, but Apple has the base to pull it off.

  • Bring back Firefly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    You got deep pockets. Just do it.

    • A) We already got Serenity. The story is done.

      B) Anything Apple produces will be in their walled garden. While Apple products are generally my preferred hardware, even I almost always stay away from their media content, since I want my media to be available in as many places and ways as possible.

      C) Some things are better left behind. While I would have LOVED more Firefly, going back to it now wouldn't be the same. It would make the season we have less special. I'd rather keep my nostalgia intact.

  • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @10:09AM (#55024727) Homepage
    Apple makes things for it's own walled garden. It's like if Ford cars could only use Ford gasoline. Or Lexmark printers could only . . . oh, nevermind.

    Other content platforms, like Netflix, make their content as widely available as possible, not as narrowly available. As an example, I can get Netflix on RoKu, TiVo, as an Android app. Apple users can probably get Netflix within the walled garden. Similarly, I can get Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO, Starz, YouTube, etc on multiple devices.

    It's why I avoid Apple products. If I buy some brand of Android smartphone, I know it will work with everything I own. If I buy a Vizio TV, or a RoKu, I know it will work with everything I own. Including Linux. I can run a DLNA server, and a RoKu can play videos from it. Etc.

    Apple hoarding TV shows and imprisoning them within its prison camp, er, . . . um, its walled garden, means that most people won't get to see those shows.
    • Or Lexmark printers could only... oh, nevermind.

      Come on, say it!

      "Or Lexmark printers could only use Lexmark ink and Lexmark paper."

      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )
        If printer companies had their way their printers would only work with manufacturer approved electricity
        • by bn-7bc ( 909819 )
          No, because thst would impsct ther botum lines magativly for at least 5 wuarters, long enugh for s bonch of CXOs to get fiered by engry investors chewing the boards asses about under performance.
      • What if Lexmark printers could only sit atop Lexmark tables?
    • And maybe they'll force people to pay with Apple Pay, too.

    • by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @10:24AM (#55024869) Journal
      I think the most damning thing is that you cant access Apple's maps without an idevice. No web access at all.... TO me that its incredibly petty and small for a company with $200 Billion in cash rotting offshore.
      • I think the most damning thing is that you cant access Apple's maps without an idevice.

        Is there someone who wants to do that?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's also outright harmful to them. Part of the reason Google's mapping information is great and Apple's isn't is that anyone can report problems with Google's data. Just about every time I've tried looking something up in Apple Maps, it's been wrong. Sometimes wrong in minor ways (right shopping complex, wrong building) but sometimes wrong in major ways (placed on the wrong street so the directions send you to the wrong address).

        Because they don't have a web interface, businesses can't look themselves up o

      • by jcr ( 53032 )

        What else do you believe Apple owes you?

        -jcr

        • As AC above so eloquently points out, Apple's maps being locked to idevices means it will permanently be a second rate mapping system compared to everything else that is web available. They dont 'owe' it to me, but it says a lot about them and produces an inferior product. Personally, I dont like such massive troves of knowledge locked behind apps, we are losing the web, so the more pressure we can put on making sure big vendors keep their data web-accessible, the better.
      • Really? You have a big issue with Apple Maps only being accessible via Apple devices? I never even gave that a thought until you mentioned it, just now. Considering all the options like Waze, Google Maps, MapQuest, or even MapsFly, it's not like APPLE Maps would offer something original that you'd really want to get in mapping, but can't get, right?

        I assume Apple wanted to invest in its own mapping solution for "internal" use with its own devices because it's a good financial investment for them in the long

    • I suspect this is for the Apple Music platform, which is one of the few things Apple has let go outside their hardware.

      They need something that makes buying their service at $10 a month better than Google's YouTube/Music service at $10 a month.

      In other words, this may be the very thing that causes Apple to branch out more and tear their walls down a little.

    • by Tukz ( 664339 )

      means that most people won't get to see those shows.

      Yaaaaarr!!

    • Of course you can see Netflix shows on many devices. It's how they deliver their service. What would be interesting is if Netflix made a show and then made it available on other services such as Amazon. That would be the proper comparison.

      And if you really want Apple content on other devices just look at what they do with iTunes on Windows and ask if you really want their stuff.

      That being said I wish Apple would stop going after new shiny things for a while and spend the time and money fixing up what they a

  • by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @10:18AM (#55024819)

    TV is about to get a lot more annoying with different distribution methods, storefronts, DRM, apps with different interfaces and different feature sets, perhaps tiered functionality/ads, and who knows if each service is coming to your preferred device(s). Oh and different subscriptions with different rates.

    Not sure how my grandparents or even parents will understand this, not sure I'm ready for this BS. Seems like a sure call for piracy to make another round. I might just stick to buying seasons of shows on discount, don't care if they're low res on DVD at this point if it's easier than the imminent tangled mess.

    Or you know just quit watching TV and read books.

    • In the early days of Radio, there were competing technical standards. In the early days of TV there competing technical standards. Imagine if we had to have separate RCA radios and Apple TV sets? Oh, and the radio and tv standards were a patent thicket.

      This article [wikipedia.org] is not a complete or exhaustive, but is a decent overview of many different Format Wars in the last century.
    • Wow what a time sink. Glad I avoid it.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I've largely given up trying. If it isn't on the BBC or Netflix I just go to the Pirate Bay. Life is too short to waste trying to find where I can watch something, buying the necessary equipment, dealing with the inevitable technical problems...

      I occasionally buy CDs from bands I like, but they go straight into a box and I grab a .flac copy from TPB to save getting the DVD drive out and ripping it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      When it comes to modern TV, piracy is the only way to have a decent selection and decent UI. Anyone who isn't pirating, has got to be having horrible experiences. If you're paying, you're not a snob.

      And that really is the industry's message to the public: pirate, or else we'll make you suffer.

      They so desperately need standards, immediately. (And DRM is pretty much the only thing keeping them from being able to have a standard.) I have never see an industry work so hard to try to kill itself.

  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:25AM (#55025431) Journal

    Actually, my thought is -- if Apple could put together 10 really good TV series, it's certainly "enough for a full scale subscription service" (contrary to the story summary)!

    Think about it. Right now, you have people maintaining premium Showtime or HBO subscriptions just for ONE series they really want to watch. Everything else is really just "filler" that doesn't motivate them to keep the subscription. (Look how many subscriptions were only kept when new episodes of shows like The Sopranos were airing.)

    Apple has plenty of money to be able to afford to license a lot of cheaper "miscellaneous content" that ensures their channel is constantly airing something. But a collection of original shows it could slowly release, interspersed with all of that? That would definitely keep people subscribing.

  • Now they can start losing money like Netflix!
  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:57AM (#55025773) Homepage Journal

    1. Caprica - it was a SciFi show spun off from the recreated Battlestar Galactica. The show started out very strong with great ratings, but it got a little sluggish in the middle of the only season and it lost a huge amount of viewership. It finished on an incredible high note and was very good after the sluggish middle. It's been "too many years" to pick up where it left off, however based on the "coming next season" previews for the next season that never happened there's plenty of footage that some sort of time-gap filler could be created to explain some aging.

    2. Stargate Universe - It was better than it go credit for, but was sort of a knock-off of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica in presentation. The show was intentionally ended in a way where it could be picked up after a gap. Sure many of the actors have moved on, but that can be woven into the story telling.

    3. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - canceled because it was too high-brow for the killer robot audience. It was incredibly good. Considering the time travel device being used throughout aging is all part of the game, easy to bring back.

    There's a lot of other Sci-Fi shows I thought were ended prematurely or would like to have back (First Wave, Dollhouse, Firefly)

    Special Mention: Invasion America, an incredibly good mini-series that wasn't finished. Spielberg was involved. Simply dig up the original scripts and as much of the cast as you can - it was a cartoon series so it can easily be resumed and it was murdered by the network tinkering with the scheduling. Nimoy of course would have to be replaced, but as a cartoon series it can easily be done.

    One I would like to see re-imagined/rebooted: Earth Final Conflict - the original started out strong, but the cast began to desert the series, starting with the original main character and going on from there. Reboot it with stronger contracts in place. It got sort of silly trying to cover for the cast changes on occasion, but it had the bones of a good show - I would like to see a do-over on this one.

    • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - canceled because it was too high-brow for the killer robot audience.

      Err no, cancelled because it had crap ratings for a show with such a high budget.

      • Some people just can't connect the dots.

        It was high-brow for killer robots therefor it lost the audience that seeks out killer robot shows, and since it featured killer robots it didn't capture the audience that wanted something a little more intelligent. Therefor the ratings sucked for a killer robot budget.

        Ergo it was too high-brow for a killer robot audience.

        The show addressed historical concepts such as the mechanical Turk, the concepts of artificial intelligence becoming so advanced that it can overco

        • Ergo it was too high-brow for a killer robot audience.

          That's not a root cause. It could happily survive if it could get over it's budget. It was killed due to money. It still has a loyal following not to mention the name of a multi-million dollar franchise behind it.

  • Remember when Apple strived to create an actual worthy hardware from scratch? Stuff like Powerbook that was on par with Dell Precision mobile workstations without the weight and bloat? Remember when Apple iterated on Mac OS in a hard effort of plug-and-play compatibility with all sorts of peripherals from consumer digital cameras to high end production equipment? Printers, scanners, third party devices that you could buy in the B&M Apple store and plug into any of their products and it just worked?
    • And I remember when they used work hard on usability when the iPhone was easy to use one-handed. When each new major version of iOS didn't mean new steps to accomplish the same tasks (for example when marking something done from the lock screen takes an extra step with iOS10). I've done a few rants on here about how Apple has kept making things worse. They really need to get a visionary back in charge instead of a business person.

  • Let's say they put them on iTunes and expect to simply sell them. $1 Billion between ten series at $100 million each. Each one a 13 episode season at $3 per episode or $30 per show. Assuming that the 30% iTunes store cost does go to maintenance costs (or at least not the Apple department that does movies), they'd need around 5,000,000 buyers to break even. Even thought that's over the entire span of hosting the movie, it seems like a lot.

    Articles from last January, when this information was released seemed

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