According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple is expected to invest around $1 billion to produce original content. That might sound like a lot, but keep in mind HBO spent about $2 billion just last year to make content, while Netflix is expected to spend more than $6 billion this year alone. With the billion dollars, Apple hopes to create content that could compete with the likes of these other services, specifically content that could compete directly against shows like Game of Thrones.
Competing against Game of Thrones would be a serious undertaking, mind you. There’s already a loyal fan base there, and while the show is ending very soon, it might be hard to get viewers hooked on something else, especially since Apple will be producing it. We’ve seen what they already have in mind when it comes to original content airing exclusively on Apple Music, which is basically everything less than fantastic. We’ve also yet to see a show that would fit the fantasy or drama categories since Planet of the Apps is more of a developer-focused alternative to Shark Tank, while Carpool Karaoke: The Series is more of something you watch in your spare time if you feel like it. Basically, Apple is making shows out of “meh” concepts, so it’s unclear how seriously they would take something that would pry away Game of Thrones or House of Cards fans.
Of course, it could be done. By getting their feet wet in the content streaming industry and possibly hiring the right directors, cast, and writers, they could have something decent on their hands. But the market is already so saturated with hundreds of shows available for streaming. It’ll obviously be an uphill battle any way you look at it, and when people are fans of one thing, it’ll be hard to draw them over to something else.
What this boils down to is lack of opportunity. There really isn’t a niche in the streaming market right now for something entirely new, and the one Game of Thrones will leave behind will probably be filled up by something that could trend endlessly for years and years to come. If Apple plays their cards right with this $1 billion investment and makes one of the projected ten shows they’ll produce actually watchable, people might wanna tune in.
But then there’s possibly the worst caveat to streaming anything Apple produces: it’ll only air on Apple Music. Unless Apple somehow cuts a deal with another streaming service (which, by the way, will never happen), you’ll need to be subscribed to the company’s $9.99/month music streaming service to watch the so-called Game of Thrones competitors. As of June 2017, Apple has 27 million Music subscribers, so they already have a decent audience to deliver the content to. But anyone who’s already subscribed to HBO or Netflix might not wanna add a music streaming service to their monthly bill just to watch one or two shows they might like. So when you think about it, not only will Apple need to actually convince people to watch their content, they’ll also need to convince them it’s worth another $9.99 a month.
Overall, Apple wants to be an alternative to Netflix or HBO. They want you to listen to your music on your iPhone and use the same app on your iPad to catch up on Carpool Karaoke. Basically, Apple wants to rule your life. And this new $1 billion investment that will be spent over the next year is proof of that. Let’s just hope they do something decent with it and not produce something as awful as a Guess the Emoji show would be.