The extent of Apple’s video efforts will be know on March 25, with a new report claims the Cupertino company isn’t leaving anything to chances: the firm’s allegedly hired specialists to woo Hollywood insiders to help it win prestigious awards like the Oscars and Emmys.
Anousha Sakoui and Mark Gurman, writing for Bloomberg:
Apple is hiring strategists to help craft campaigns for entertainment industry awards, including Hollywood’s highest prizes like the Oscars and Emmys. The company is forming a team of people with awards strategy experience. In January, it hired one such person from Walt Disney’s television group.
The iPhone maker is also seeking a high-level candidate to oversee the process, one of the people familiar with the situation said. The company could be in the running for Emmy awards as early as 2020, according to people familiar with the process.
The March 25 press conference is said to be a star-studded event in and of itself so we’re not surprised that Apple is seeking to influence Hollywood’s opinion makers as its Netflix rival comes into full view.
But what do these people actually do?
Awards strategists arrange screenings and other publicity events for Hollywood insiders and others who vote on which movies and TV shows win awards. These promoters must work within strict guidelines while ensuring voters see the movies and even spend time with the actors and filmmakers.
Winning top prizes can draw consumers to subscribe to streaming services. It also attracts higher-profile directors and actors who once considered online video operations second rate to Hollywood studios.
The report stresses that Amazon has a good working relationship with movie studios:
Amazon has maintained a better relationship with Hollywood by following more traditional release schedules before streaming its movies on its Prime Video service. Amazon earned a best picture nomination and two Oscars for ‘Manchester by the Sea’ in 2017.
But make no mistake, Apple’s chief rival is Netflix.
As an example, Netflix’s film “Roma” took home three Oscars this year and scored a best picture nomination. The Bloomberg report suggests that the company’s achievement can be chalked up in no small part to strategist Lisa Taback, who previously worked on campaigns that led to best picture Oscars for flicks including “Moonlight” and “The King’s Speech.”
It’s unclear whether Apple plans to cozy up to Hollywood completely. Netflix’s “Roma” played in select theaters for a few weeks before streaming in US homes, making it eligible for awards. But that didn’t go far enough for critics like director Steven Spielberg, who reportedly wanted movies to run for at least one month in theaters.
Of course, Apple knows all too well how to play this game.
It’s already spending bug bucks to the tune of one billion per year to acquire expensive projects with big name starts like Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Durant, and producers such as J.J. Abrams. Aside from TV shows, the company is even building a slate of films from Oscar-winning studios A24 and Cartoon Saloon.
Ireland-based Cartoon Saloon has had multiple films nominated for Oscars. Earlier this year, Apple acquired the film ‘Hala’ at the Sundance Film Festival, a hotbed for awards winners. New York-based film producer and distributor A24 will make a movie with Sofia Coppola as its first feature for Apple.
Apple’s service is said to launch with licensed programming from Hollywood studios, with its own original content arriving no earlier than the fall. The service could launch in mid-April alongside subscriptions in the TV app.
Apple is said to be aiming for family-friendly, clean content.