Home / News & Analysis / It sounds like Apple’s original content is going to be really, really bad

It sounds like Apple’s original content is going to be really, really bad

Last year, an investor projected that Apple would be spending up to $4.2 billion on original content by 2022, but if the reports coming out now about what that content will look like are correct, the company may want its money back.

A new Wall Street Journal article highlights some of the tensions that Apple faces as it looks to create a streaming media service in the age of Handmaid’s Tale, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones, and even The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

To set the table, The Journal walked readers through some of the issues Tim Cook apparently had with Vital Signs, a title the company had acquired loosely based on the biography of rap legend (and former head of the billion dollar Apple acquisition, Beats) Dr. Dre.

Reportedly, after Cook saw scenes including a mansion orgy, white lines, and drawn guns the Apple chief put the kibosh on the whole production saying it was too violent and not something that Apple can air.

For Apple’s content business, gratuitous profanity, sex or violence are all verboten as the company tries to thread the needle between being a widely beloved producer of high quality consumer goods and purveyor of paid entertainment to a public that’s increasingly enthralled with blood and gore at its circuses.

In other words, Apple’s mores seem a little misplaced.

There’s a problem for Apple as it tries to stitch together a studio while limiting itself to the entertainment equivalent of cream of wheat. Plenty of other other technology companies are gunning for that number one slot and studios are fighting for their very survival.

Money may talk in Hollywood, but creative control, ensuring an audience for a show, and the continued viability of programming also have their place. Creators may find that they’re far more comfortable wrapped in a quilt that has more varied programming where their shows may be buoyed by the success of other, darker programming that appeals to a broader audience.

If Apple’s aversion to potentially scandalous storylines is as extreme as The Wall Street Journal article makes it seem — requesting the removal of crucifixes from a set to avoid offending religious sensibilities in an M. Night Shyamalan drama; parting ways with show-runners because of the “dark tone” they were taking in a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories and the big budget vehicle for Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon; spiking the Dr. Dre show entirely — it may not even be able to field series as enjoyable as reported Cook favorite Friday Night Lights (which featured teenage sex, underage drinking, abortion, and extreme religiosity alongside the familial and football foibles of Eric and Tammy Taylor).

Apple’s ambitions to be the go to spot for family friendly fare also risks being thwarted by the only studio that’s managed to fend off the tech giants encroaching on the entertainment world — Disney. The mighty mouse house has plans for its own streaming service (and already has a place for more mature content to reside). A bundled package that includes discounts could be an unbeatable option for would-be subscribers — and makes up for the fact that Disney’s own streaming service won’t have R-rated films.

Disney may offer a discounted bundle of Hulu, ESPN+ and its new streaming service

With competition so fierce it doesn’t make much sense for Apple to box its own content service into a corner just as it’s struggling to get its footing the ring.

All that said, having a roughly $200 billion pile of cash sitting in the corner definitely gives Apple’s streaming contender a fighting chance. The question is whether an audience will stick around to watch what’s likely to be a bloodless fight.

Check Also

Box releases Skills, which lets developers apply AI and machine learning to Box content

When you have as much data under management as Box does, you have the key ingredient for artificial intelligence and machine learning, which feeds on copious amounts of data. Box is giving developers access to this data, while letting them choose the AI and machine learning algorithms they want to use. Today, the company announced the general availability of the Box Skills SDK, originally announced at BoxWorks a year ago. Jeetu Patel, Box’s chief product officer and chief strategy officer, says Beta customers have been focusing on use cases specific to each company. They have been pulling information from different classes of content that matter most to them to bring an element of automation to their content management. “If there’s a way to bring a level of automation with machine learning, rather than doing it manually, that would meaningfully change the way that business processes can function,” Patel told TechCrunch. Among the use cases Box has been seeing with the 300 Beta testers, is using artificial intelligence to recognize the contents of a photo for the purpose of auto tagging, thereby eliminating the need for humans to do that tagging. Another example is in contract management where the terms are pulled automatically from the contract, saving the legal team from having to do this. Where this can get really powerful though is that the Skill can drive a more complex automated workflow inside of Box. If, for example, the Skill is driving the creation of automated metadata, that can in turn drive a workflow, Patel said. Box is providing the means to ingest Box data into a given AI or machine learning algorithm, but instead of trying to create those on its own, it’s been relying on partners who have more specific expertise such as IBM Watson, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services. In fact, Box says it is working with dozens of AI and machine learning partners. For customers who aren’t comfortable doing any of this on their own, Box is also providing a consulting service, where it can come into a customer and help work through a set of requirements and choose the best algorithm for the job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Disclaimer: Trading in bitcoins or other digital currencies carries a high level of risk and can result in the total loss of the invested capital. theonlinetech.org does not provide investment advice, but only reflects its own opinion. Please ensure that if you trade or invest in bitcoins or other digital currencies (for example, investing in cloud mining services) you fully understand the risks involved! Please also note that some external links are affiliate links.