Apple is thinking about getting into the scripted TV business, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Always mysterious “people familiar with the matter” tell the… log the shows would be offered to Apple Music subscribers, and the company is talking to both “veteran producers” and “experienced marketing executives” to create and promote those shows. The shows could be released by the end of this year.
The report also says that Apple is researching moviemaking, but it describes those efforts as “more tentative.”
Apple is already dabbling in some unscripted TV, including an app developer competition series called Planet of the apps and a half-hour version of Carpool Karaoke. Another previously announced project, a scripted “dark semi-autobiographical drama with at least one orgy scene,” stars Dr. Dre, the rapper and producer whose name happens to be associated with the Beats headphones Apple sells.
The other scripted TV referenced in the WSJ report probably won’t star Apple employees (although personally I’d probably watch a buddy police show where Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi teamed up to solve crimes).
Apple is a big company with a lot of resources, but this would be a step in a crowded market in which it has little experience. Streaming-only companies like Netflix and Amazon, basic cable networks like AMC and FX, hybrid companies like HBO, and traditional broadcast networks offer a wider variety of scripted TV shows than ever before. According to FX .’s researchthere were 455 scripted TV shows on all of these providers in 2016, compared to 349 in 2013 when groundbreaking Netflix shows such as House of cards and Orange is the new black had their premiere. The “Peak TV” phenomenon is fueling massive growth in the TV industry, but failed projects like Yahoo Screen show that success in a market already overflowing with options is hard to come by.