TiPb Asks: Should Apple make their own TV shows?

TiPb Asks: Should Apple make their own TV shows?

The New York Times says Netflix may start delivering their first TV show, House of Cards, and it got us wondering if Apple shouldn't get into the production side of show business as well? Netflix might outbid the likes of HBO and AMC to get House of Cards and it would give them original programming that you couldn't get anywhere else. Sony has their own Hollywood studio. Comcast is buying NBC. Will Apple be at a disadvantage if they only deliver content but don't make any themselves. (No, Disney doesn't count -- just because Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder doesn't mean Apple owns it or has exclusive rights to any of their content.)

Apple already has the tools to make TV shows -- Final Cut Pro on Macs. They have iTunes to market, sell, and deliver it. They have iAds if they want to use it. They have clients on Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch to watch it. All they're missing is the actual content. Sure it could spread Apple too thin and be too far outside their core business but that hasn't stopped Sony and it might not stop Netflix.

What do you think, would a Dr. Horrible-style show, only available on iTunes be an advantage for Apple? Given the increasing competition, will Apple have to do something like that eventually?

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Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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TiPb Asks: Should Apple make their own TV shows?


Ugh... Do one (or two things), and do them well. Apple does a great job with hardware and content distribution (iTunes).
Why in the world should the start making content???

I'm surprised they haven't done it already, especially with music a couple years ago. Right now they're at the mercy of content creation companies like Sony or NBC who threaten (or actually do) take content away. Some of those companies are now in conflict with Apple (Sony makes Android devices, Comcast owns NBC).
Apple typically doesn't like other companies controlling their experience, and when they can't help it (AT&T network), it hurts their perceived value.
I can certainly see Apple inking a few exclusive deals as a way to text the waters. (Not sure how I feel about them becoming a Sony or GE-style conglomerate though...)

Rene, as I understand it the only reason that Apple hasn't made its own labels (or just made iTunes label free, allowing artists to publish their own music directly to iTunes) is because the music industry forced Apple to agree to terms whereby all iTunes content had to be represented by a label. I think that, as time goes forward, these conventional distributors will become less and less relevant. While I don't think that Apple will necessarily start producing its own content, I think that these types of distribution systems will liberate content creators from the parasitic conventional distributors like record labels.

@Jon where did you hear that all music on iTunes needs to be represented by a label? I know plenty of independent artist with music for sale on iTunes. Maybe I don't understand your post, but I don't see it as correct information.
As far as the topic at hand. I think Apple's resources would be best to fix products that have issues and improve their entire line of products.
It seems Apple has been having issues with products recently released and I would like them to polish these and once again having a higher standard of quality than their competitors. Then use all that extra cash to buy more companies that can add resources to existing and future products.

Without knowing your friends' situation, I would wager that they are still represented by an independent label such as CDbaby.

I think that they definitely should be making shows! I think that they could use Pixar to create a channel to totally take over tv for kids! They could leave The Sprout Channel &Nick JR in the dust! And maybe even take out Disney XD! But it would take a vast amount of resources to do a whole channel instead of a couple of shows. I'm also sure that Steve knows enough actors and Apple is a hip enough brand to pull in some major talent or regular shows. They could be making a whole new pile of cash in that area! Why not?! Give Apple TV the bite to go with the bark!

I honestly hope they don't. I would be sorely disappointed if Apple takes some resources and uses them for production programming.

There are enough content providers out there. Apple should stick to what it does best - make computers, phones, and iPads, and the iTunes store. Just keep making those the best.

I don't think that they would lose any ground in electronics I they started making shows. It's not like the shows would use people from the iPhone or iPad team right?! Would you use the VP of marketing as your director or hire a director? Would you use engineers in the Mac labs as actors? They would be two different wings of the same company but why would one take away from the other?! Steve has already shown that he can create a movie making powerhouse! PIXAR?! People do walk and chew gum these days ya know?!

For the record, Jobs did not "create" Pixar, Pixar existed long before as an arm of Lucasfilms and Jobs bought about half of it. Saying that the success of Pixar is due to Steve Jobs ignores the major participation Disney had, not only in the Toy Story series but also in every other Pixar success.

Jobs was still instrumental in its early developments. He also played a key role in negotiating better terms with Disney in the mid 2000s.

Should Apple make food as well? Or get into public transportation? Or perhaps go into cleaning products? Apple bleach anyone?
Seriously, I did not get the comparison, what does Netflix has to do with Apple? Much like HBO, Netflix is into the video distribution business, so it's a natural move to produce some of that content, instead of gettin it all from other producers and sharing the profits. Apple is in the tech business, hardware and software, and although it does get some revenue from iTunes, that's very far from being Apple's core business.

I think its a big stretch. Apple sells video as much as BestBuy or Target. Should any store that sells video, and that's what iTunes does, produce as well? iTunes is not even very profitable to Apple, and it's main focus is music, not video. Well, all this is academic anyway because we know Apple will never do it.

Music is a main focus but video must be pretty high on the list as well considering they bothered to create that little tv box that downloads/streams a ton of right to your tv. Don't be frustrated because you can't put companies in a box. I mean what about Apple makes it looks like it would fit into anybody's box? Who's box do you wanna go into? No box right?! You want to be able to go after all of your goals and dreams and be the most that you can. Why shouldn't Apple want the same thing? Even if the never make one show or movie of their own its their "Business" to do what makes money. Nobody should be able to keep you or Apple from doing what you want as long as nobody gets hurt right? Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit Of Happiness for everybody right? It really wouldn't be a big surprise if they tried to keep the playing field level with all the other companies buying networks. And I wasn't trying to steal anyone's credit for whoever came up with Pixar. My point was that he has very strong ties over there right?! He really doesn't even have to use Pixar to make a mark in the film/tv industry. Good actors, good writers, and a few HD cameras..the best computers (MacPro) that money can buy and the best film software (Final Cut Studio) already in the house! Just don't be surprised.

Should Amazon write the books as well? If Apple wants to get into the "Media creation" business, let it leverage (ie fund projects) something like Pixar. Kind of like a "silent" partner.

Apple looked around and saw that all the music studios were using their computers to run Pro Tools and they said, "We can give you something that does it even better. LOGIC. The got into the creation of the music that was being produced and recorded on their computers. Pro Tools is still trying to catch up! They took a look at what their Hollywood mac addicts were doing and said hey, "We can give you software that's just as good, if not better, that will allow you to do what those $500,000 systems do on your Mac for about $499,500 less. LOL! FINAL CUT! Its only natural, if you look at how things have progressed, that they get deeper into Music and Films/TV. Should they stop just because you won't like it? Really?!

Original content but not live? That'd suck. iTunes.com could resolve that easily but they'd blow it, IMO, forcing people to Apple only products or a Windows PC.

I agree! Original but maybe not live. The only thing that I would wanna see live is "Product Development"! And that show will never be made because they won't show you anything before Steve walks on stage with it in his hand! LOL!

This really is the next step of online content, it is only a matter of time. If iTunes does not do it, others will. Old media has too much bloat and overhead to compete going forward.

I've wondered about Apple producing their own content. Let's not forget that Steve Jobs is the former CEO of Pixar, and he's managed the release of hit after hit. Steve knows how to hire, retain, and motivate talented people. Both technology types and creatives.
Creating their own content might be less of a hassle in the long term, due to contract negotiations, licensing fees, and all that. And all it takes is one Apple-made hit show or movie to attract millions to the "Apple Channel" or whatever Apple might want to call it.

Honestly, I would love, love, LOVE to see that.
I think the main thing is Apple might want to do a "iTunes digital exclusive" for something that people would actually want to see (maybe some sort of acquisition or something). Since they've got a data center in my home state of NC (meaning I have a dog in this fight), I think Apple could really pull off a doozy.

I think the biggest problem with this would be that it would be locked to JUST the customers who have iOS devices (unless they are expecting people to watch it on their computer). This kind of makes sense for Netflix because you can play their content just about everywhere, but if I want to watch an Apple exclusive on my TV, I'd need to invest $100 in an Apple TV (or hook my computer up, but most customers won't see that as an option)

I agree with the idea that you're trying to get across. I hope that they would do it on a larger scale and create a channel/network. Something that will be picked up by Time Warner and Comcast and Direct TV/DishNetwork and Verizon or whoever has tv services available in whatever part of the country. That would be a win on a much larger scale and the content could be offered to you maybe like a day early as long as the download counted for ratings points.

Well, look at Pixar. Mr. Jobs is on that board as well. He has experience with content creators. It's a nasty business and quite risky I'm sure, but an Apple Channel that has all kinds of content and music from iTunes as well as maybe original programming may spell the end of the current old guard. It may also finally get those people to the negotiating table.

I would like an 30 Rock type of Apple show or maybe an Office type of show surrounding Apple I think that maybe the only way that it would benefit Apple is obviously make Apple more money but more importantly it could show that having TV-Shows on iTunes would make lots of $$

Not make shows, but I could see them financing shows for exclusive iTunes distribution. A Sopranos, Lost or True Blood type series - they could afford to pay top dollar, give the first 2 or 3 episodes away for free and sell the others "Only Available On iTunes".

Netflix streams its content at a fixed, cheap, monthly price. There is no sign of this coming from Apple as they don't offer a streaming music service.

Apple should stay in the content delivery business, not the content creation business. They're very, very good at content delivery. They should stick with what they know best since they seem to make a load of money doing it.