When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was being interviewed for his biography that was published shortly after his death in 2011 he revealed that with regards to television he believed he has “Finally cracked it”. We may soon find out just what Jobs had in mind as Apple reveals its new Apple TV streaming service at the “It’s show time event” on 25 March.
The revelation of the date for the show time event was the final piece of evidence that Apple is gearing up to take on Netflix, Amazon and UK services such as Now TV with its own TV shows and movies that will be available to watch on the Apple TV, iPhone and iPad.
Apple is spending billions making its own TV shows for distribution via the Apple TV, iPhone and iPad. Shows may also be available to watch on third-party TV sets that offer AirPlay support (find out which TVs work with Apple’s software here). In fact, an Apple Patent granted in February 2019 could indicate that the Apple shows will be available to watch on any device not just those made by Apple.
There have been multiple reports about the new shows in the works at Apple, with various high-profile stars, directors, writers and producers, so it is no secret that the company is hard at work producing content. The big question is when will Apple start to broadcast its new TV shows, and will it be charging a subscription or giving the content away for free?
In this article we will cover all the rumours and revelations about of Apple’s plans for its streaming service, including who Apple is working with, what shows are being made, where you will be able to watch Apple’s TV shows, how much the Apple TV streaming service will cost (it may even be free!), and when Apple’s streaming service will launch.
We have lots of information about all of Apple’s new shows below, including a series from La La Land director and writer Damien Chazelle, news that Apple has signed up a show by Bob’s Burgers creator staring Frozen’s Kristen Bell and Josh Gad, and a show by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon who co-wrote The Big Sick.
Apple is also reported to be planning to offer movies two- to three weeks after cinema release, in a move that could threaten cinema chains. Find out more below.
The latest news is that a spring event has been confirmed for Monday 25 March. We explain how you can watch the Apple Spring Event here. The new service could launch soon, although there are also claims it could be delayed until the autumn.
Apple TV streaming service release date
A New York Times report back in March 2018 suggested that Apple was targeting a March 2019 release date for the new service that we will detail below.
With Apple confirmed to be holding an event on 25 March (read: When is the next Apple Event) it looks like we will catch our first glimpse of the streaming service at that event. The 25 March event is apparently going to be attended by a number of celebrities that Apple has enlisted to help it create its own content, including Jennifer Aniston, Reece Witherspoon, Jennifer Garner, and J.J. Abrams, according to a Bloomberg report on 13 February 2019.
The Apple TV streaming service may not be ready to start streaming straight after the event though. An Information report at the end of January 2019 claimed that content creators had been asked to get their offerings ready in time for a mid-April launch.
Other reports suggests that even if the service is unveilled at the 25 March event it may not actually launch until later in the year. Apple may not start to stream its content until autumn 2019 according to Variety sources who claimed that original series being made for the service may not air until the summer or autumn of 2019.
When is the next Apple event?
Here’s the lowdown on when we can expect the next Apple event to be held,…
Apple’s streaming service UK release
It’s likely that Apple is intending to launch its new content service in the UK, but whether it will be ready to launch here at the same time as it does in the US remains to be seen. Given Apple’s track record we’d expect a delay. For example, Apple’s TV app arrived in the US months before it arrived in the UK.
Apple’s Streaming Service plans
It is clear from Apple’s actions that the company plans to produce its own TV content. Apple has already been spending a lot of money on the project and reportedly plans to spend $4.2bn on original programming by 2022, including $1bn in 2018, as per this Variety report.
This budget is still smaller than Netflix’s $6.8bn, and Amazon is expected to spend up to $8.3bn on original content, according to this Guardian report from April 2018, but Apple certainly mean’s business – or should we say, Show Business.
The money is certainly being spent – with frequent reports of new shows being snapped up by Apple, and news of new hires joining Apple’s new team to TV and film execs.
Apple’s TV and film team
Apple’s Eddy Cue has been building a video team for some time. The video team is based in Los Angeles and is lead by two ex-Sony Pictures execs Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who have shows such as Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul under their belt, have worked at Sony for 15 years (Amburg) and 20 years (Erlicht).
When he was given the job in June 2017, Erlicht said: “It will be an honor to be part of the Apple team. We want to bring to video what Apple has been so successful with in their other services and consumer products – unparalleled quality,” according to a report on Deadline Hollywood.
In September 2017 Matt Cherniss, president of US TV broadcasting company WGN, joined the team. He was behind shows such as Manhattan and Salem and has previously worked for Sony, Warner Bros. Pictures and Fox.
And in late October 2017 Apple added the former controller of BBC One and chief creative officer of Channel 4, Jay Hunt, to its team of creatives working on video content. Hunt was behind shows like Sherlock, Luther, and then helped Channel 4 buy The Great British Bake Off. In her new role at Apple she will be creative director Europe, worldwide video. It is thought that she will be commissioning programming on behalf of Apple for Europe and the UK market.
In February 2018 Apple hired Gaumont Television executive Carol Trussell as Head of Production at its Worldwide Video Programming division. When at Gaumont, Trussell was responsible for Narcos and Hannibal amongst other shows. She was previously a producer for HBO’s True Blood
Apple also hired The Paramount Network’s Dana Tuinier as creative executive for comedy. Before Paramount, Tuinier worked at Fox on shows including New Girl, Almost Human and Glee.
A July 2018 TBI Vision reported that Apple had hired head of BBC Films Joe Oppenheimer to join the international team. Oppenheimer will be tasked with sourcing programming internationally, according to TBI Vision. His film credits include I, Daniel Blake and Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.
Then in December 2018 it emerged that Apple has signed a deal with Justin Lin’s entertainment company, Perfect Storm. Lin directed some of the Fast and Furious movies, as well as some episodes of Community and True Detective. Lin worked with Sony Pictures TV for six years on Sony TV shows including Scorpion, S.W.A.T and Magnum PI.
Apple is also working with a star studdied list of performers, directors and producers for its shows, which we have details of below.
TV shows Apple is making
Wondering what shows the team at Apple is making? The company has been unable to keep rumours and snippets of information getting out about its plans here, so we already know about quite a few of the shows the company is working on. With so much information about the shows that are coming from Apple, there can be no doubt that the company intends to extend its own offering beyond iTunes rentals very soon.
And it’s not skimping. Apple is said to have budgeted at least $1bn in 2018 for buying and producing its own video content in a bid to compete with Netflix and Amazon, according to reports.
The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg claim that the investment could translate to 10 new shows, but there are more than 10 shows listed below.
According to Apple senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, speaking at the South by Southwest conference in March 2018, Apple plans is to produce a small number of quality shows rather than focus on quantity.
Don’t expect to see anything like Game of Thrones coming from Apple’s studios though. Apparently the company isn’t looking for sex or violence. According to Bloomberg: “Apple wants comedies and emotional dramas with broad appeal, such as the NBC hit ‘This Is Us’, and family shows like ‘Amazing Stories.'”
Top executives don’t want kids “catching a stray nipple,” the report claims.
A Wall Street Journal report also suggests that Apple’s content will be PG-rated, with Apple steering clear of violent content. In fact, Tim Cook has already put a hold on a semi-biopic drama about hip hop artist Dr. Dre called Vital Signs, deciding it wasn’t right for Apple, after discovering the show included “characters doing lines of cocaine, an extended orgy in a mansion and drawn guns” according to Wall Street Journal. Cook apparently told Jimmy Iovine that the show was too violent.
Apple wants high-quality shows with big names and wide appeal, but it doesn’t want gratuitous sex, profanity or violence, the WSJ said.
However, Apple may have since changed its mind. As of December 2018, Apple is reportedly looking for a gritty drama, despite reports that the company was more focused on family friendly drama. Reports claim that Apple is now looking for a show like 24 or Homeland and has purchased the rights to remake a “gritty Israeli TV show”, more information below.
Apple has already made two shows, Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps, which have been distributed via the £9.99 a month Apple Music subscription service and haven’t been particularly popular (we have more information about those shows below). The new TV shows that Apple has in the pipeline are in a different league to Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps though.