It’s no secret that Apple is looking to move into the television market, but a new interview with Jimmy Iovine, one of the executives in charge of Apple Music, said the company isn’t looking to create a subscription-based video streaming service akin to Netflix.
Instead, Iovine told Variety that Apple’s venture into original television programming will exist within the confines of Apple Music. Those with subscriptions to Apple’s music streaming service will be able to access any exclusive show the company releases as part of their current plan. Iovine did not offer any hint that Apple will increase the cost of a plan based on whether or not users wanted access to original programming, but it’s clear the move into TV is on the forefront of Apple’s mind.
“We’re trying to make the music service a cultural point of reference, and that’s why we’re making video,” Iovine said. “We’re making video for our Apple Music customers and our future customers.”
Apple first announced it was moving into making original, exclusive TV series last February. The first scripted series, Vital Signs, hails from Dr. Dre (one of the executives working on Apple Music) and consists of 30-minute dramatic episodes that are semi-autographical, based on the rapper-turned-producer’s life. Those close to the project told The Hollywood Reporter that Dr. Dre would star in the show and it contains “no shortage of violence and sex.”
Five months later, Apple confirmed it had purchased the rights to “Carpool Karaoke.” The popular segment that occurs on The Late Late Show with James Corden stars the titular comedian driving around Los Angeles with a variety of celebrities singing different songs. It’s one of the most popular ongoing late night variety show segments, which each new episode racking up millions of views on YouTube. Apple’s version of the series won’t star Corden, but will feature numerous celebrities each week essentially doing the same thing.
During a recent quarterly conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri confirmed that Services (Apps, Apple Music, etc) had grown far more than they originally thought it would and were planning to greatly increase the profit they saw brought in each different service by 2020. One of those ventures includes introducing more, HBO-quality original series that will be available exclusively through Apple.
“We’ve put our toe in the water doing some original content for Apple Music and that will be rolling out throughout the year,” Cook said during the call. “We’re learning from that, and we’ll go from there.”
Despite Cook and Maestri’s commitment to producing more original series, Iovine confirmed Apple isn’t looking to take on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime at this time. Apple isn’t going to create its own service that would operate as a stand-alone streaming platform Apple consumers could subscribe to. Instead, the shows will act as additional benefits Apple Music subscribers will get with their $9.99 monthly fee.
“To me it’s all one thing,” Iovine said. “It’s Apple Music, and it happens to have video and audio … It has nothing to do with what Netflix is doing.”
Apple is gearing up to invest in more series, along the lines of Netflix’s Stranger Things or HBO’s Westworld, with more announcements expect to roll out over the course of the year.