News arrived in 2017 that Apple was working on launching its own streaming service and was enlisting some pretty big names to distinguish it, including Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, M. Night ShyamalanRonald D. Moore (‘Battlestar Galactica’, ‘Outlander’), David S. Goyer (‘Da Vinci’s Demons’),  Francis Lawrence (‘The Hunger Games’), Jon M. Chu (‘Crazy Rich Asians’) and Damien Chazelle (‘La La Land’).  Then, last October, word surfaced that these projects would be devoid of anything even borderline offensive– no sex, drugs, profanity, violence, or political or religious imagery.  The latest word is that they have also nixed anything exploring the negative consequences of technology, with a producer explaining “They want a positive view of technology.”  Makes sense, considering the source.

As it turned out, the reason for such limitations is because this content will not be subscriber-based, but is a marketing tool to get consumers to buy Apple products.  All of this programming will be free to stream on Apple TV, iPods, iPhones, iPads, and Macs.  Because of that, this content had to be safe for watchers of all ages and all global cultures.

Unfortunately, it sounds like creators don’t like being told what not to do.  Agents and producers are griping about Apple’s “lack of transparency,” “lack of clarity” and “intrusive” executives, including CEO Tim Cook.  The producer complained, “Tim Cook is giving notes and getting involved” with the creation of this family-friendly programming, with feedback such as “Don’t be so mean!”  An agent indicated that Cook has personally visited the sets of sci-fi series ‘See’, about a future where humans have all lost their sight, and the unnamed comedy starring Aniston and Witherspoon.

There had been talk that this streaming service would be available as early as this month, but now it isn’t expected until 2020, because only a few of the planned offerings have even begun production.  The process has been further delayed by Apple forcing video executives to make frequent trips to the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, CA, taking them away from their work in Los Angeles.

The producer revealed:

“They are making big changes, firing and hiring new writers. There’s a lack of clarity on what they want.  A lot of the product is not as good as they hoped it to be.”

Apple’s desire is that this original programming will strike a cord like HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones‘, Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things‘, Hulu’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, and Amazon’s ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ (among others), and create buzzworthy shows that watchers have to see, so they buy an Apple device in order that they don’t miss out on the conversation.

But it should be pointed out that Apple’s investment is rather modest.  The tech giant is only spending one billion dollars to make its original shows, versus the twenty billion that Netflix and the others spend annually on original material.  But some see Apple’s initial offerings as a “beta test.”  Should one or more of these connect with a sizeable audience, Apple may invest more and wade a little deeper into the streaming pond.

Stay tuned for updates.  Are you an Apple user?  Were you looking forward to this original content in 2019?

Source: New York Times