Apple Music announces first original TV series

Dive Brief:

  • Apple Music announced its first two original TV series at the Recode Media conference – “Planet of the Apps” and "Carpool Karaoke," a spin-off of the popular "The Late Late Show with James Corden" segment – as reported by Variety.
  • Apple content SVP Eddy Cue told Variety that the tech giant is tapping its Apple Music division for TV content in order to differentiate from competition such as Netflix and Amazon, as well as take advantage of its music platform.
  • Cue said Apple isn’t currently considering content licensing or acquisitions, but is instead trying out things that are creative and move culture. Cue told Variety he's averse to a commercial-based TV model: "I’m not saying we’ll never do it (but) I don’t think it’s the direction we should be going. I don’t think that’s what our customers are asking for."

Dive Insight:

Apple is just the latest big name brand making inroads into original TV-like content. Netflix moved from being a mail order DVD rental and streaming video service to a major producer of original shows, and Amazon has pushed well past its e-commerce label in part thanks to Prime video offerings as well.

Given Amazon, Netflix and others' success in this space, more players in tech and social are eager to get in on the action, Apple included. Facebook is also developing a set-top box app that may host premium video content, and upstart Snapchat appears to be investing heavily in TV-like offerings to build out value and attract more advertising dollars ahead of an IPO expected for March. 

A recent study from Parks Associates found that 31% of broadband-enabled households have more than one over-the-top (OTT) subscription and 63% have at least one, with Netflix and Amazon Video being the two most popular options. Apple is looking to tap into this lucrative market and obviously has strong established infrastructure here with built-in Music subscribers but also offerings like Apple TV.

For marketers, the impact and penetration of OTT subscription services might open new opportunities for video advertising, which will likely grow in importance as cable cord-cutting continues to accelerate and more eyeballs drift toward digital alternatives. However, most OTT services are not following the traditional ad-supported business model of television, and, according to Apple’s Cue, Music's new series won’t be following that line of monetization for the foreseeable future either. 

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