Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue made a rare and uncharacteristic admission during a discussion at SXSW this month. “We don’t know anything about making television,” he confessed.
Cue, who is in charge of multiple projects at Apple including its original programming initiative, said the company brings plenty of skills to the table – how to create apps, how to do distribution and how to market – but conceded that they “don’t really know how to create shows.”
Apple is looking to improve its position in Hollywood, however, and certainly has the cash to do so. According to The New York Times, the company has outspent YouTube and Facebook in recent months with regard to original programming and in a few instances, has even trumped Netflix in bidding wars.
The spending has resulted in a wealth of new content deals. Since October, the Cupertino tech giant has reportedly inked deals for a dozen projects, nine of which are described as straight-to-series agreements that bypass the pilot episode stage.
Apple’s first original series, a reality show called Planet of the Apps, debut last June and failed to make a splash despite attracting well-known figures like Gwyneth Paltrow and Will.i.am. The 12 projects Apple is currently working on also have notable names attached including Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, M. Night Shyamalan, Jennifer Aniston and Kristen Wiig, just to name a few.
Details on the projects are somewhat scarce although producers and executives that have recently met with Apple said the company is aiming to keep its programming in line with its “bright, optimistic brand identity.”
The new slate of programming is expected to start rolling out between March 2019 and the summer of the same year.