What you need to know
- Apple has purchased the streaming rights for the entire "Fraggle Rock" series.
- It has also ordered new, full-length episodes of the show.
- This is the first time non-original content will stream on Apple TV+.
The "Fraggle Rock: Rock On!" short-form series doesn't seem to be the end of Apple's relationship with the Jim Henson classic.
According to a new report from Vulture, Apple has signed a deal with the Jim Henson Company to not only produce new, full-length episodes of the series but has also purchased the streaming rights of all of its original episodes. All 96 episodes of the original "Fraggle Rock" series will be available to Apple TV+ subscribers on May 27th.
"As part of the agreement, Apple has also acquired exclusive streaming rights to all 96 episodes of the original 1983–87 live-action HBO series (and some specials) and will make them available to subscribers in 100 countries on Wednesday, May 27th."
This marks the first time that Apple will host non-original content on its streaming platform. While an earlier report from Bloomberg said that the company was moving away from its original strategy of original content to more of a Netflix approach, an Apple source says that is not the case. According to the source, the company has simply decided that if it is going to create new episodes of a series that it should also host episodes that had existed beforehand.
"The Apple source says that had the company not acquired the library, consumers would've had to go to HBO (the former home for the show) for old episodes and TV+ for the new. By having both, Apple can now accurately market itself as the home to all things Fraggle. (Well, at least live-action: The animated spinoff of the show isn't part of the agreement.) The source says Henson execs first pitched Apple on the idea of bundling the classic episodes in with the deal for the reboot. Initially, the company wasn't interested but ultimately realized it didn't make sense for the old episodes to be streaming elsewhere, in essence competing with the reboot."
The source reiterates that Apple only plans to purchase existing content if it is related to a project they are currently working on for their service.
"The source close to Apple says that there has been no change in the basic strategy, even if the deal for Fraggle Rock does represent a modest evolution in thinking at the streamer. The only cases in which Apple might consider buying library titles is if it is also working on a new project related to the existing property."
For the foreseeable future, Apple's plan is to create new content for its platform. If that content happens to have a history, that may come along for the ride as well.