Apple is reportedly set to rival Netflix and Amazon with its own TV shows made exclusively for its upcoming Apple TV.
According to a new report from Variety, Apple has discussed investing in original series. The publication cited a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private.
The company hasn’t decided whether to proceed, the person said.
Apple would want to fund a number of high-profile series, the person said, rather than start with one or two. The company attempted to work with the stars of hit BBC series “Top Gear” after they left the show, according to Variety.
Sources indicate the Cupertino, Calif. colossus has held preliminary conversations in recent weeks with executives in Hollywood to suss out their interest in spearheading efforts to produce entertainment content. The unit putting out the feelers reports into Eddy Cue, who is Apple’s point man on all content-related matters, from its negotiations with programmers for Apple TV to its recent faceoff with Taylor Swift.
It’s currently unclear how large Apple’s ambitions and commitment to producing original video content are, as sources have told Variety contradictory things about the Cupertino company’s plans.
One source says Apple wants to create development and production departments that could create long-term content like Netflix does with original TV shows and movies.
Another source says Apple is “flirting” with the idea, and launched an “unprecedented bid” to sign Top Gear stars Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond when they left the BBC. However, Amazon ended up winning that bidding war.
In recent years, Apple has hired independent film content experts to shore up iTunes Movies’ independent offerings with exclusive windows on films and a broader selection of content, including offering movies available for rent before or during their theatrical runs.
Analysts and executives have long speculated Apple might fund programming or buy a movie studio. Up to now, the company has stuck with producing phones, tablets and computers — businesses with higher profit margins than content production.
Apple’s updated Apple TV box is schedules is to launch in October alongside the new iPhones and is expected to be unveiled at its September 9th event.
The new box — which will eventually become a hub for Apple’s plans to take on Netflix — will at first include Siri support, a redesigned remote control and an app store that will allow developers to run programs on it.