Apple's Hollywood ambitions


'Apple's Hollywood ambitions' Articles Page 2

Four More TV Execs Join Apple's Video Content Team

Four additional veteran executives from the television industry are joining Apple's video content team, according to a new report from Variety. Former head of current programming at Sony Pictures Kim Rozenfeld is joining Apple as its future head of programming and lead executive on documentary series development. Apple has thus far purchased several music-related documentaries that have aired on Apple Music, including Kygo: Stole the Show and Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A Bad Boy Story. Rozenfeld formerly worked with Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, two Sony Pictures Television executives who joined Apple in June to lead Apple's video programming efforts. Erlicht and Amburg have produced popular shows like Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, The Crown, and more. Two additional former Sony employees are joining the video team as development executives. Both Max Aronson and Ali Woodruff also worked with Amburg and Erlicht and will report to the duo at Apple. Aronson previously served as VP of drama development at Sony Pictures Television, while Woodruff was the director of creative affairs. Rita Cooper Lee, who formerly worked as the WGN America head of publicity is joining Apple to lead communications for the video content unit, and she will report directly to Tom Neumayr. Lee is the second employee to join Apple from WGN America. Former president and general manager of WGN America Matt Cherniss joined Apple earlier in August to help oversee the development of the video unit. Apple is picking up a lot of talent in the video and television area as it experiments

Apple Looking to Purchase 'James Bond' Film Distribution Rights

As its hunt for original television and film content heats up, Apple is now reportedly looking to land film distribution rights to the James Bond film franchise (via The Hollywood Reporter). Warner Bros. is said to be the front contender, but Apple and fellow tech company Amazon are both in "hot pursuit" of the spy series. Sony's distribution rights for James Bond films ended with the release of the latest entry, 2015's Spectre, leading to multiple studios and companies vying for the rights. Sources close to the deal said that Apple and Amazon are willing to spend "in the same ballpark" as Warner Bros, "if not much more," in order to beef up their respective streaming businesses. Besides these companies, Universal and Fox are also pursuing the rights to the franchise. Daniel Craig as James Bond via 007.com The deal is said to include the streaming rights to the entire James Bond film back catalogue, and potentially even "the future of the franchise." In recent James Bond news, Daniel Craig confirmed he'll be back to play the titular character in future movies. But the emergence of Apple — which is considered such a viable competitor that Warners is now pressing MGM hard to close a deal — and Amazon shows that the digital giants consider Bond one of the last untapped brands (like a Marvel, Pixar or Lucasfilm) that could act as a game-changer in the content space. Apple’s and Amazon’s inclusion in the chase would indicate that more is on the table than film rights, including the future of the franchise if MGM will sell or license out for the right price. Newly hired

Apple Eyes Lease at The Culver Studios, Bidding on Drama Starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon

Apple is reportedly seeking to move its original content division to an iconic California studio where movies like Gone With The Wind and The Matrix were shot, in order to serve as a base for its big push into Hollywood production. According to the Financial Times, Apple is interested in leasing space at The Culver Studios, which was built by silent movie pioneer Thomas Ince and counts RKO, Howard Hughes and Cecil B DeMille among its former owners. The studio is close to Sony Pictures' studio lot in Culver City, as well as Beats, the audio group Apple bought two years ago. Image via Wikipedia Leasing at The Culver Studios would give Apple room to expand, as it hires top Hollywood talent, according to three people familiar with the discussions. The site has 13 soundstages up to 32,000 sq ft in size that can accommodate TV show shoots and full-length feature film work. But Apple is mainly looking for office space, albeit in an iconic location that signals their ambitions to become a big player in Hollywood.Apple and The Culver Studios declined to comment on the report, but the move makes sense given that Apple recently set aside $1 billion to acquire and produce original television content over the next year to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon. That budget is said to be controlled by Hollywood veterans Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who were hired by Apple in June from Sony to oversee content acquisition and video strategy. Apple also recently hired former WGN America President Matt Cherniss to oversee development of the company's worldwide video

Apple Wants to Sell 4K Movies for $20 in iTunes, While Film Studios Want $25 to $30

Apple is said to be "scrambling" to strike deals with movie studios in Hollywood regarding the exact prices of 4K movies in the iTunes Store, taking places just weeks ahead of the rumored debut of the new 4K Apple TV in mid-September. While the talks have been ongoing for some time, discussions have been recently hampered by disagreements over the pricing of 4K movie purchases, according to sources close to the talks (via The Wall Street Journal). Apple wants to charge $19.99 for 4K movie purchases in its digital iTunes Store, the same price it currently charges for newly-released HD films. However, many Hollywood studios it has talked with are pushing back on that price point and are looking to charge customers a premium for the new 4K content: $25 to $30 for a 4K movie in iTunes. Apple wants to have major Hollywood films available in ultra-high definition on the new device, expected to go on sale later this year. However, it wants to charge $19.99 for those movies—on par with what it sometimes charges for new HD movies, the people with knowledge of the discussions said. Several Hollywood studios want to charge $5 to $10 more for 4K movies, the people said. Apple is said to be trying to finish these discussions well before September 12, the currently rumored date that will see the unveiling of the new 4K Apple TV, iPhone 8, iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, Apple Watch Series 3, and more software-related announcements. As iTunes loses market share to companies like Amazon and Comcast, Apple is hoping that a revitalized Apple TV streaming box with 4K content -- which

Hollywood Pushing for iTunes to Rent Major Films Just Weeks After They Debut in Theaters

Despite the objections of some cinema chains, the largest Hollywood studios are considering pushing ahead with a plan to offer digital rentals of films just weeks after they appear in theaters, according to Bloomberg. The report, citing people familiar with the matter, claims Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. remain in talks with potential distributors such as Apple and Comcast on ways to push ahead with the project even without theater chains. A deal with Apple, which reportedly could happen as soon as early next year, means iTunes could supposedly offer major films as early as 17 days after their theatrical debut for about $50, or four to six weeks from release for $30. That timeframe would be significantly shorter than the current average of three months between a major film's theatrical release and availability in DVD and digital formats, but it would also cost viewers more than an $8 to $15 movie ticket. The revenue from the premium video on demand, or PVOD, product would help offset a continuing decline in DVD sales, which were down 10 percent in the first half of 2017, according to research firm The Digital Entertainment Group. Disney, which plans to remove its movies from Netflix and launch its own streaming service by 2019, reportedly isn't interested in the PVOD talks. Bloomberg first reported on the discussions in December, when it claimed 21st Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. were all seeking deals with Apple to create a $25 to $50 premium movie download

Apple Sets Aside '$1 Billion War Chest' for Hollywood Programming

Apple has earmarked $1 billion to acquire and produce original television content over the next year to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. The plans could see Apple procure and produce as many as 10 television shows, according to people familiar with the matter, thanks to a budget figure that is about half of what Time Warner's HBO spent on content last year and around the same amount as Amazon spent in 2013, after it announced its own move into original programming. The budget will reportedly be controlled by Hollywood veterans Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who were hired by Apple in June from Sony to oversee content acquisition and video strategy. Apple also recently hired former WGN America President Matt Cherniss to oversee development of the company’s worldwide video unit. Cherniss previously worked with Erlicht and Van Amburg to bring the Sony shows "Underground" and "Outsiders" to WGN. Mr. Van Amburg and Mr. Erlicht have begun meeting with Hollywood agents and holding discussions about shows Apple could acquire, the people familiar said. Mr. Matt Cherniss has movie experience, having worked as a production executive at Warner Bros.WSJ notes that not only will Apple have a fight on its hands going up against rivals already heavily invested in original content, but it will also have to avoid jeopardizing its 15 percent cut of subscriptions from its App Store for services like Netflix and HBO GO. As for the cost of programming, this can vary widely, from more than $2 million an episode for a

Apple Adds to Video Team With Hire of Former WGN America Head

Former president and general manager of WGN America and Tribune Studios Matt Cherniss has jointed Apple to help oversee the development of the company's worldwide video unit, reports Variety. Cherniss will serve under Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, two former Sony executives who joined Apple earlier this year to lead Apple's video programming efforts on a worldwide scale. Erlicht and Amburg report to senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue. Back in June, Cherniss stepped down from his role as president at WGN America and Tribune Studios after Tribune was acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group. Cherniss led WGN's own push into original content and away from re-runs, overseeing the launch of shows like "Salem," "Outsiders," "Underground," and "Manhattan," so he's well-positioned to help Apple make a deeper dive into original programming. With the addition of Cherniss, Apple has a solid team, as its former two hires, Erlicht and Amburg, helped produce shows like "Breaking Bad," "Better Call Saul," and "The Crown." Over the course of the last several months, Apple has been experimenting with original content as a way to promote its Apple Music service. The company has launched two shows so far, including "Planet of the Apps," a series about app developers pitching ideas to investors, and "Carpool Karaoke," a music-based show developed from the Carpool Karaoke segment on "The Late Late Show with James Corden." Apple is said to have bigger ambitions when it comes to original content, though, with rumors suggesting the company is

Apple Hires Executives From Sony Pictures TV to Lead Push Into Original Programming

Apple today announced that television executives Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg will be joining the company to help craft its new slate of original video programming. The two will lead Apple's video programming efforts on a worldwide scale and report to senior vice president of internet software and services, Eddy Cue. Image via Variety Erlicht and Van Amburg are joining Apple from Sony Pictures Television, where they were presidents of the company since 2005 and helped produce shows like AMC's Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, Netflix's The Crown, Amazon's Sneaky Pete, and more. Erlicht said that he and Van Amburg will attempt to create content of "unparalleled quality," matching Apple's success in its other product categories. “Jamie and Zack are two of the most talented TV executives in the world and have been instrumental in making this the golden age of television,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We have exciting plans in store for customers and can’t wait for them to bring their expertise to Apple — there is much more to come.” “It will be an honor to be part of the Apple team,” said Jamie Erlicht. “We want to bring to video what Apple has been so successful with in their other services and consumer products — unparalleled quality.” “Apple has a relentless focus on delighting customers with their products,” said Zack Van Amburg. “We will bring that same intention to Apple’s programming and we could not be more excited about what lies ahead.” The hiring announcement today represents Apple's latest

Apple's 'Planet of the Apps' Television Show Launches Tonight

Apple's first original television series, Planet of the Apps, will premiere tonight, according to Reuters. The show, which was screened earlier today at the Worldwide Developers Conference, is set to premiere at 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time on Apple Music. Apple will also make the first episode free on iTunes and the Planet of the Apps website. Produced by Ben Silverman, Howard Owens, and will.i.am, Planet of the Apps is an unscripted television show about apps and the developers who make them. The show is similar to other television shows like The Voice and Shark Tank, in that it features developers pitching their app ideas for a chance to be mentored by influencers and entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jessica Alba. The advisors help chosen contestants build their apps and prepare them to ask for funding from participating VC company Lightspeed Venture Partners. In an interview with Reuters, iTunes chief Eddy Cue says Planet of the Apps answers the question of how to take an idea to a finished product."The question when you have ideas is how to take those to fruition," Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services, said in an interview. "Sometimes you may not know how, you might be afraid of what's involved. This really shows how that's possible."Filming for Planet of the Apps show began towards the end of 2016 and wrapped up in February. Most of the filming took place on an Apple-built set near Hollywood. According to Reuters, the first two episodes feature developers presenting apps for online shopping, campus

Apple Seeking Programming Chief to Lead Video Efforts

Apple is looking for a programming chief, suggesting the company is serious about delving further into original programming, reports The Information. In its search to find someone to lead its video efforts, Apple is said to have met with former HBO president and programming lead Michael Lombardo earlier this year to "discuss Apple's video programming strategy." Lombardo left his high-profile role as HBO president in early 2016 to become a producer because he wanted a more active creative role. Lombardo is currently producing a show for HBO, but given his meeting with Apple, it's possible the company is considering him for the head programming role. Apple is said to be actively seeking to fill the position, which could answer some questions Hollywood has about the company's video plans.While the company has taken on a few projects like reality competition show "Planet of the Apps" and the "Carpool Karaoke" series, many in Hollywood have been flummoxed by what exactly Apple wants to do with video. Questions include how far Apple wants to go in making its own shows and whether it wants to compete with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.Apple CEO Tim Cook in January said that Apple has a "toe in the water" testing original television programming, so it's possible Apple itself doesn't yet know how far it wants to go with original content. In early May, Cook said in an interview that Apple is experimenting with original content and learning from that experience. "We're learning and we'll see where this takes us," he said. Apple has several original television programs in the

Apple Music's Original TV Plans Now Include Potential Shows and Videos From J.J. Abrams and R. Kelly

Jimmy Iovine, one of the heads of Apple Music, has given multiple interviews and visions for the future of Apple's streaming music service over the past few months, mainly detailing how Apple Music will morph into "an entire pop cultural experience" with the advent of original video content. In an interview with Bloomberg posted online today, Iovine continued that pitch by stating, "I’m trying to help Apple Music be an overall movement in popular culture," detailing plans that include original shows and videos with partners like director J.J. Abrams and rapper R. Kelly. The expansion of Apple Music beyond streaming new songs and music videos by artists began slowly for Apple, with the company releasing a tour documentary in partnership with Taylor Swift in 2015, as well as a 23-minute short film with Drake in 2016. Those modest beginnings have helped Apple learn what works and what doesn't, with Iovine stating, "We’re gonna grow slowly no matter what, I don’t know how to do it fast." Iovine further mentioned that Apple's vast resources provide the Apple Music team with enough room for betting on risky projects, so the service can "make one show, three shows" to see what viewers favor. “A music service needs to be more than a bunch of songs and a few playlists,” says Iovine, 64. “I’m trying to help Apple Music be an overall movement in popular culture, everything from unsigned bands to video. We have a lot of plans.” Apple Music’s foray into video programming could be a temporary dalliance, but if Iovine succeeds, the world’s wealthiest company

Apple Met Paramount and Sony Executives Last Week as it Flirts With Original Content

Apple senior executive Eddy Cue, who oversees services such as iTunes and Apple Music, held discussions last week with Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures, two of the biggest film studios in Hollywood, according to the New York Post, but the iPhone maker's exact ambitions in the content space are still uncertain. The report suggested Apple is looking for a "transformative acquisition" and "not just a deal to buy TV shows," while an unnamed source is quoted as vaguely saying Apple is "preparing something big." Apple has so far only flirted with original content, which it plans to distribute through Apple Music starting later this year. It acquired the rights to Carpool Karaoke, for example, the popular segment from The Late Late Show with James Corden, which it plans to reboot as a series of sixteen half-hour episodes on Apple Music. The trailer for the show revealed it has a similar format of celebrity pairings singing along while driving. Likewise, Apple's upcoming reality TV series Planet of the Apps will be released on a weekly basis in the Spring. On the show, hosted by Beats 1 radio host Zane Lowe, app developers compete for venture capital while receiving mentorship from influencers Gary Vaynerchuk, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, and will.i.am. Apple has sent mixed signals to Hollywood about its interest in original programming over the past few years, according to The Information. Last year, it said Apple has met with film studios and producers about developing original TV shows to offer exclusively on iTunes, but Cue later said Apple is "not in

Apple Considered Buying Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment, but Talks 'Fizzled Out' [Updated]

Another rumor of Apple's interest in acquiring a company involved in film and television has come to light today, with Financial Times reporting that the Cupertino company was in talks to acquire production company Imagine Entertainment, co-founded by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. The deal is said to have gotten "serious enough" to include Apple CEO Tim Cook and senior vice president Eddy Cue, but discussions ultimately "fizzled out" for unknown reasons. Those knowledgable about the deal said that possibilities ranged from a "first look" distribution strategy granted to Apple for movies and television shows released by Imagine all the way to an investment or even an outright purchase by Apple. Imagine is a company behind a number of well-known films, including all three entries in The Da Vinci Code series, Apollo 13, and the upcoming adaptation of The Dark Tower. Some of its production in the TV space includes shows like Empire, 24, and Parenthood. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment According to Financial Times, Apple's current approach to original video content "has many in Hollywood scratching their heads." This approach has many in Hollywood scratching their heads. Apple’s rounds of meetings with various entertainment industry players suggest it has not yet decided what its strategy should be. The iPhone maker has been stalking Hollywood for more than a year, talking to leading industry players while it tries to formulate a cogent video strategy. It has considered a range of acquisitions and targets including, most recently, Imagine

Jimmy Iovine Says Apple Music Will Be 'An Entire Pop Cultural Experience' With New TV Shows

After a report by The Wall Street Journal stated that Apple is planning a push into original television series production for 2017, Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine spoke to reporters over the weekend and explained why the company is looking to add TV to its streaming music service (via The Hollywood Reporter). Iovine said that the company's main concern is enticing users into choosing Apple Music over competitors like Spotify and Pandora, which offer free, ad-supported tiers for users. Ultimately, Iovine and other Apple Music executives believed that another basic streaming music service with on-demand access to music at $10 a month would not be enough to keep it alive. He called the move into TV Apple's attempt to build "an entire pop cultural experience." "At Apple Music, what we're trying to create is an entire cultural, pop cultural experience, and that happens to include audio and video," he told reporters Saturday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. "If South Park walks into my office, I am not going to say you're not musicians, you know?" Iovine continued when pressed about the report. "We're going to do whatever hits popular culture smack on the nose. We're going to try." The Hollywood Reporter suggests that the Dr. Dre-starring Vital Signs could be among the first of Apple's scripted television series to launch this year, with six episodes rolling out all at once, following the Netflix strategy. Despite all of the information known about Vital Signs since its announcement nearly a year ago last February, it's still unclear