21st Century Fox CEO Says Apple Still Just 'Dabbling' in Original TV Content

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 30, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    In early 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook described the company's plans for original TV content on Apple Music as placing a "toe in the water" for its television ambitions at the time. Eventually, Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke debuted on the service, but since then frequent reports have indicated Apple is now "completely all in" on original content, shifting from reality TV programs on Apple Music to high-quality, $1 billion investments in hour-long programs on par with shows like Westworld.

    Despite Apple's evolving plans over the past year and a half, 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch still believes Apple to be "dabbling" in the creative original content space. In an interview at Recode's Code Conference this week, Murdoch was asked what advice he would give to companies who are not traditional TV content-creating companies, but who are getting into the original programming business.

    Photo taken by Asa Mathat via Recode

    Murdoch explained that 21st Century Fox's angle is "a creative business" and "very entreprenurial," where it empowers creators, creative partners, and creative executives to "push the envelope" in storytelling. He said that "being tolerant of failure is important," leading into his statement about Apple and other companies looking into TV production and their potential fear of failure as an impediment to faster progress.
    As of now, there are 13 original shows coming from Apple (although how exactly they will launch remains in question), including new episodes of Amazing Stories, an untitled space drama from the creator of the Battlestar Galactica reboot, a Kristen Wiig sitcom, and other projects from names like Damien Chazelle, M. Night Shyamalan, and Octavia Spencer. Apple has set aside a $1 billion "war chest" for the production of these shows, the first of which could launch as soon as March 2019.

    Murdoch appears to think that Apple will roll out its shows "one by one," leading into his argument that it will take a while for the company to have a hit on its hands. It's unclear why the CEO believes that to be Apple's plans, however, since neither Apple nor any rumors have suggested how exactly the company will launch its shows, and how many will hit at once.

    One of Apple's rivals in the market will be Hulu, which has its own original TV shows like The Handmaid's Tale, Marvel's Runaways, and the upcoming Stephen King anthology series Castle Rock. 21st Century Fox is one of the owners of Hulu, and according to Murdoch about half of the 20 million Hulu subscribers pay for the service's $11.99/month No Commercials tier, upgrading from the Limited Commercials option at $7.99/month.
    Murdoch also touched upon the company's plans to sell parts of its media assets to Disney, which now could be complicated with an all-cash offer from Comcast. The CEO was expectedly reserved about specific details regarding what could happen with each offer, but made it clear that the company has given far more thought to the regulatory aspects of the Disney deal than it has to any offer from Comcast, saying Fox will "deal with that as we go."

    Article Link: 21st Century Fox CEO Says Apple Still Just 'Dabbling' in Original TV Content
  2. magicschoolbus macrumors 65816


    May 27, 2014
    I have to say I agree with him. Apple's "original" content has been very lackluster - and does not have a collection of "it" shows like Netflix does.

    So far Apple's original programming has been very uninspiring and has not caught on to mainstream appeal like a Netflix Stranger Things where people sign up just to watch it. Apple needs something like that - a few times over - before they become a big player in original exclusive content.

    I am not saying it won't happen eventually - because eventually, it will.. but I don't think Apple becoming a media powerhouse in original programming is going to happen within the next 2-5 years.
  3. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Dabbling is generous phrasing. Lot of work for Apple. Netflix is on a talent spree.. And then there is Disney coming online with it's new service in a few years. So far I haven't seen one actual or proposed Apple show that appeals to me.
  4. Dilster3k macrumors 6502a


    Jul 20, 2014
    Carpool Karaoke and that app show (that no one watched) are literally prime examples on why Apple should stay away from this space. This screams 90's Apple, they are stretching themselves wayyyy too thin.
  5. xalea macrumors regular


    Jan 12, 2017
    I don't really understand how Apple plans to make money from all this. Frankly I think a better idea would've been to start Apple Records and produce music with exclusive releases. Obviously iTunes etc. is very well established. Not that many people have an Apple TV and they hardly even update it. I would've gone the music route.
  6. Carlanga macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    true, right on the iTunes Ping! I think Apple 2018 thinks they can throw money at any wall and see what sticks and think they can come out ahead without doing anything special.
  7. AngerDanger macrumors 601


    Dec 9, 2008
    Asa: Oops, they started adjusting their glasses and pulling a face right when I took a photo.
    Asa's friend: Better retake it.
    Asa: I wish I could, but SD card space is soo expensive.
  8. lars666 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2008
    Apple has so much money in the bank that they could steal EVERY original content creator talent away from Netflix. Probably could completely defeat Netflix this way much cheaper than buying the (overpriced) company itself. Would be very surprised if Apple doesn't use its money for this strategy - my only explanation for the underwhelming original Apple productions at the moment would be that they they stay true on their "only family-friendly content" rule in every aspect. Which would be very disappointing.
  9. Carlanga macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    except they have tons of money to throw away now, tons and don't care about finding a good deal for the customer, its all about the max profits instead of the apple tax now.
  10. magicschoolbus macrumors 65816


    May 27, 2014
    I totally agree with you.

    Apple could have and should have done this - An Apple Music exclusive release of Jay Z, Beyonce, Beatles Remastered Catalogue, make iTunes act as an exclusive record label and make people come to you for the content. Of course - this should have happened before Spotify changed the game. I feel it would be much harder to do this now. This would of been better positioned when Spotify was just starting - iTunes should of became a streaming platform on the spot with exclusive releases to drive people straight to Apple Music and crush Spotify from the start. But we are still left with a terrible Apple Music design on desktop and mobile and overall a lackluster Apple Music experience with no exclusive content. Apple really missed the boat on streaming in my opinion - along with home delivery (which is another conversation entirely..)
  11. Morgenland, May 30, 2018
    Last edited: May 30, 2018

    Morgenland macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2009
    Who cares about James Murdoch's BS?!!

    Apple is technically creative first and can place new technologies through sophisticated market vision and knowledge. What's all this entertainment crap? Dealing with movies and music is always a boring market.

    Apple has created with Radion Beats 1 something very nice. IMNSHO they should not overdo it and concentrate their resources more on software and hardware.
  12. leicaman macrumors member


    Jul 22, 2002
    Carlsbad, CA
    --- Post Merged, May 30, 2018 ---
    That's what Ballmer said about phones. And the Blackberry fools. And the Palm CEO.

    Where are they now? Basketball, cheap Chinese Androids, history.
  13. TheShadowKnows! macrumors 6502a


    Sep 30, 2014
    National Capital Region
    Had a hard chuckle when I read:
    "[Apple] shifting from reality TV programs on Apple Music to high-quality, $1 billion investments in hour-long programs on par with shows like Westworld."

    Westworld. Are you kidding? Mature-content produced under Apple control?
    Not in this galaxy, and never under Cook and friends.
  14. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    Maybe Apple thinks if they make TV shows and Movies that is only playable on Apple hardware, they will sell more devices, similar to how Apple once treated their software, post-Apple Clones.

    Apple would charge premium prices for their hardware, which was good quality, but it was the excellent software Apple provide to entice people to buy their expensive hardware. Even when Apple charged for the Mac OS, I don't think it was a huge money maker for them. But, if you wanted to use the Mac OS or iOS (legally), you had to buy their hardware. Apple's software has gone downhill lately, so this is probably not the case anymore though.
  15. RogerWilco macrumors 6502a


    Jul 29, 2011
    Dilettantes and dabblers -- pretty much sums up Apple's management these days.
  16. tom5304 macrumors regular

    May 7, 2005
    Ad-free is the only way I’ll watch television in any form, and I’m willing to pay for it. I already do with Hulu/Netflix/Amazon Prime. I haven’t watched live television in years, and I don’t miss it.

    The only television commercials I see are at the gym or in a waiting room somewhere. Television commercials are unbearable to me. So insulting to anyone’s intelligence.
  17. Rojo macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2006
    I actually think some of the upcoming Apple TV shows sounded interesting, and they certainly have major talent involved.

    But the problem was when I heard they’d all be “family-friendly.” Now if 25% or even half of them were, then...fine. But ALL??

    Nope, sorry... this “network” is dead already.

    I honestly don’t understand it. They sell mature content on iTunes (shows, films, music). I heard it was so they could play it in Apple Stores. But...really??? Just use an edited version for the stores (like they do on airplanes). Then you could have the best of both worlds.

    The fact that they are already limiting the potential of these shows so greatly is really worrying news...
  18. ipponrg macrumors 65816

    Oct 15, 2008
    Love it how people continually think money is the fix for everything. Maybe you can explain why some of Apple's first party software is atrocious given how much cash in the bank they have. Talent doesn't always go where the money is.
  19. corebeliefs Suspended


    Dec 28, 2016
  20. bluecoast macrumors 65816

    Nov 7, 2017
    I agree, I can only think that Apple is getting in the game to build expertise and experience to make a larger acquisition

    It’ll have to be a big aquisition too.

    They’ll need way more programming in order to build up a service that people will subscribe to.

    Maybe they’re waiting for Netflix’s bubble to burst so they can make a swoop.

    Like many have said, I’ve wondered why they haven’t set up their own music label.

    I can only assume that the labels have it in their contracts with Apple that it won’t do that.

    I also wonder how Apple is going to deal with a situation like Roseanne with their first party shows. Something controversial will end up happening at some point.

    Apple are used to being squeaky clean, but are they ready for what can happen when they start bringing in lots of ‘creative’ people under the Apple name?
  21. corebeliefs Suspended


    Dec 28, 2016
    Apple is just as interested in creating a media narrative, and perhaps a political narrative, as it is creating hardware. Media content is the rich company's way of stamping its vision on the world. Netflix giving Obama multi millions of dollars, someone who has never created content before, but is politically licensed, is just an example. I don't think Apple cares if this content stuff makes money.
  22. FelixDerKater macrumors 68030


    Apr 12, 2002
    Nirgendwo in Amerika
    Get your feet wet and see what works before betting the farm. Don't become SONY. Excellent strategy.
  23. alwaysbeincontact macrumors regular


    Apr 9, 2014
    Curious to see the content when it comes out.
  24. ksec, May 30, 2018
    Last edited: May 30, 2018

    ksec macrumors 6502a

    Dec 23, 2015
    I wish someone could explain, on the business side of it. How you invest $1 billion into an original TV programme and expect what sort of return? $1 Billion is gigantic amount of money. I know it is tiny in Apple's pocket. But it is still huge.

    I am actually strongly against Apple creating an Original TV just to kick start the Apple TV business.
    They wish to use their customer loyalty to kick start Apple TV as the gatekeeper of TV programme. And collect 30% of the Subscription revenue. But I doubt that will work, and on a Global view of things, it will never work. I can bet $100 it won't work in Japan, Korea and China. 80% sure it won't work in UK or Germany.

    If Apple TV is no longer an hobby, it is a half assed attempt of what they want.

    Apple could have provided the infrastructure of TV / Streaming delivery. Basically every Apps that has a subscription via Apple, will have their Video or Audio content streamed via Apple Network. Dramatically saving the huge bandwidth cost. Apple has all the connection with ISP and Mobile Carrier, they could set up a CDN like where Apple Server and Cache are placed near or inside their Network. They could further provide Encoding options in the Cloud, to make things easier for content producers. So content producer can focus on what they do best.

    With all these handled via Apple, all of a sudden the 30% cut seems like a bargain.
  25. corebeliefs Suspended


    Dec 28, 2016
    Because they're not in it for the money? I commented up earlier in the thread, content is a vanity project for companies to get their message across. Apple starting with family-friendly, probably as a way to seed its content into the most homes as possible. I can't believe that that's Apple's end game.

    When you hear that Apple cancels a very successful airport line because it's just not big enough peanuts for them, and then goes into content creation, competing with bedroom YouTube creators, and all of the major players in streaming, does it make a lot of sense when you always hear from Apple, it has to have a huge payout for us to want to do it.

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