Upcoming Apple TV+ Sci-Fi Drama 'See' Reported to Cost $15 Million Per Episode

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Apple has several original TV shows in the works for its upcoming Apple TV+ streaming service, and a new report by The Wall Street Journal looks at the big budgets involved in these productions as competition hots up among rival streaming services eager to win over audiences in a market dominated by the likes of Netflix and HBO.


According to the report, Amazon and Netflix have increased budgets for original content in the last few years. Netflix originally spent $4.5 million per episode on "House of Cards," but now many newcomers are having to spend between $8 million and $15 million per episode on original content to compete with established services.

For example, Disney's Star Wars spinoff "The Mandalorian" costs nearly $15 million per episode, according to people who spoke to WSJ. As for Apple, it is said to be spending nearly $15 million per episode to produce sci-fi drama "See," which stars Jason Momoa of "Game of Thrones" and Aquaman fame.
In the case of Apple's "See," the cost has neared $15 million for each roughly 60-minute episode, according to a person familiar with the matter. That is more than the cost of a typical independent feature film.

"See," set centuries in the future after a virus has wiped out much of Earth's population and left survivors blind, appears to be taking cues from the "Game of Thrones" playbook of cinematic world-building. Footage shown at Apple's programming event featured Mr. Momoa ready-set for battle alongside dozens of actors in sweeping vistas filmed in the fields and forests of British Columbia.
These kinds of figures per episode mean shows can easily exceed $150 million per season - or as much as a typical big-budget movie. One driving factor, according to the report, is that high-profile TV shows are offered up next to theatrical films available to stream on the same service, so "original programming can't risk looking like B-material next to the movies."

Apple is working on dozens of original TV shows and movies with high-profile directors, producers, and actors. The company was reported to have a budget of about $1 billion for its original content and TV shows in 2017.

It's unclear if Apple's budget has risen since that time, but as the WSJ report concludes, a certain power comes with paying big money for A-list actors, since it signals to other top actors and directors that Apple is committed to writing big checks for its top shows.

For example, Apple has signed a deal for two seasons of morning talk show drama "The Morning Show," starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. According to a report in January 2018, the two key stars are set to earn $1.25 million per episode.

Apple TV+, Apple's new streaming television service, is coming this fall. It will be available on all devices where the TV app is available, which includes iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV, along with the Mac. There's no TV app for Mac right now, but Apple plans to introduce one later this year.

Apple has not yet announced pricing for the service, but it is ad free and shows will be available to watch on demand. For more information on Apple TV+, make sure to check out our Apple TV+ guide.

Article Link: Upcoming Apple TV+ Sci-Fi Drama 'See' Reported to Cost $15 Million Per Episode
 

ike1707

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Jan 20, 2009
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I mean, I hope Apple TV+ isn't a bust, but it sure seems like they’re throwing peanuts at an elephant.
 
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dilbert99

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Jul 23, 2012
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These kinds of figures per episode mean shows can easily exceed $150 million per season - or as much as a typical big-budget movie. One driving factor, according to the report, is that high-profile TV shows are offered up next to theatrical films available to stream on the same service, so "original programming can't risk looking like B-material next to the movies."
From my point of view, I watch movies and tv shows at different times, usually tv shows during the week with a movie at the weekend when I typically have more time, so no competition for me.

I do wish however that Netflix add back in the ability to filter by movie or tv show so that I can find shows during the week and movies at the weekend. Not sure why they removed that feature.
 
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Lalatoon

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Jul 8, 2019
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With this kind of budget, I guess Apple is hoping that with its brand name Apple and millions of users in their ecosystem (iPhone, iPad, iTouch, macOS) Apple TV+ will be successful. I think it will be successful at launch given how many people are into Apple products, good or bad. The question is, will it stay afloat with its current business model - available to Apple only devices. Is Apple users subscriptions enough to keep this kind of business model thrive? This is different from Apple Music, after a month a user might be able to consume all the content already specially Apple said they are into quality not into quantity which frankly I don't know what quality means for Apple :). I am on Netflix and some of the movies I watched are labeled rotten whe I go to RottenTomatoes but for me I liked it and enjoyed it a lot. Hopefully Apple is not close minded when it comes to its content and we will be able to watch good and entertaining films. Apple is a very proud company that rarely admits to its shortcomings and created an image of a company that is self-righteous, with this attitude they might scare film makers or will put less content because movies won't easily pass their standard but anyway at the end of the day, the deciding factory will always be profit. The universal truth in our capitalist system.

Is this available in China? The country is their biggest market outside US but I don't think CCP will allow Chineses people watching western content but if they do then its a big win for Apple. I believe Netflix is not available in China.
 

Marzel

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Sep 12, 2018
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Apple needs to spend some serious time promoting all these shows long before the service actually becomes available. We know almost nothing substantial about any of these shows other than who is involved in them (which means almost nothing to me).
 

Infinite Vortex

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Mar 6, 2015
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Maybe, but when you have over $200B in cash on hand you can take risks like that.
And if ventures like this happen to underperform which significantly puts a dent into that $US200B do you think the prices of the iPhone, iPads and Macs are going to remain where they are?
 
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Glockworkorange

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Feb 10, 2015
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This isn't the Apple TV service we asked for......
Were we even asking for an Apple TV service? I sure wasn’t
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Apple needs to spend some serious time promoting all these shows long before the service actually becomes available. We know almost nothing substantial about any of these shows other than who is involved in them (which means almost nothing to me).
Completely agree. They should be building hype and marketing this stuff now, not leaking cost per episode. Wondering why they haven’t released pricing info yet either.
 
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