Apple is in talks as part of a possible move into producing its own original programming, Variety reports. According to the publication, the company is looking to start hiring for a new development and production division in the next few months that would go into operation next year, producing content to rival streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. It’s not clear whether this new division would produce TV shows, movies, or both, but a unit within the Apple has reportedly already entered discussions with Hollywood executives, reporting back to Eddy Cue.
Variety says that Apple’s plans are in the early stages, but that the company has increased its interest in producing its own TV shows or movies in recent months. The company reportedly made an offer to ex-Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond in July, before the trio were eventually snapped up by Amazon. Apple certainly has the coffers to be able to afford such deals, but the company may not have been ready to pull the trigger at the time, having reportedly pushed the launch of its rumored internet TV service back to 2016 at the earliest. New Apple TV hardware is apparently set for a September launch.
It’s too early to say whether Apple intends to follow Netflix’s monthly subscription model exactly, or simply make shows available on iTunes as it has with several independent movies in recent years, but the recent launch of Apple Music has shown the company is not shy of copying other streaming services in terms of payment structure. Apple Music could serve as something of a test bed for Apple’s reported TV ambitions, combining outside content in the form of music with original programming like Apple’s Beats 1 radio station.
It’s understood that Apple has been in negotiations with networks and production companies to feature on its own internet TV service for years, meaning the company may already have the relationships in place to produce its own content. Original programming would be a feather in the cap of any such service, working as shows such as Orange Is The New Black and House of Cards have for Netflix as differentiators in an increasingly crowded market. For now though, Apple has declined to comment on “rumor and speculation.”