Apple meeting with top talent to develop original programming

Apple TV colored screen

Apple has been secretly meeting with top entertainment talent, reports Fast Company. In a lengthy article detailing the streaming ambitions of various tech giants, the outlet says the iPhone-maker has its sights set on building a lineup of original programming.

According to sources, the company quietly set up shop at the Imperial Hotel in Utah during this year’s Sundance Film Festival. There, it hosted a series of private events, known as the “iTunes Lounge,” where it discussed content deals with actors and filmmakers.

The iTunes Lounge was in fact part of a stealth effort by Apple to establish a new, more active role in delivering entertainment. In the weeks that followed, Apple execs were in Los Angeles hearing pitches for original TV series that it plans to launch on an “exclusives” app on Apple TV and within iTunes. Apple wants to work with “triple A-list” talent, according to a source, and build up a roster of must-see shows available only on its platform. Naturally, the talks have been veiled in the utmost secrecy. Producers who have met with Apple will refer to it only as the United Fruit Company.

Apple of course has long been rumored to be interested in original programming, following its frustrations with putting together a streaming TV service with existing content. It’s already reportedly begun developing TV shows with musicians Dr. Dre and Will.I.Am.

According to five different sources who have been briefed on Apple’s plans or spoken directly to Apple executives, the company is still a bit “disorganized,” and these Hollywood principals complain that Apple hasn’t presented a coherent strategy. That said, Apple appears to be taking a “two-lane approach” to original programming. The first, which Vital Signs falls under, is a slate of short films, music videos, and documentaries that will be built around musicians and friends of Dr. Dre and his Beats partner, Jimmy Iovine, a former record executive.

[…]The second lane—which for now is more deeply undercover—is an effort to do what Amazon and Netflix have done for their tens of millions of users: offer its own original TV-style entertainment. Apple being Apple, though, it not only wants to find its own House of Cards, but it wants several of them at once.

Fast Company says that Facebook, Google and Alibaba are also exploring the space.

Source: Fast Company