Rapper Dr. Dre arrives at the premiere of Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ ‘Straight Outta Compton’ at the Microsoft Theatre on August 10, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
For much of its 40-year history, rumors have swirled that Apple would enter the entertainment industry. Would it buy a movie studio? A music company? When would it start making its programming? Now, it looks clear that plans to create its own original content have been set in motion.
Earlier this month, the tech giant was reported to be working on a show with Dr. Dre, according to Variety. It also tapped a former AMC and Viacom public relations executive to lead communications around content initiatives. Dre is a co-founder of Beats, which Apple acquired in 2014.
Apple may be a force in the industry, but it will still probably face an uphill battle. While platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have led the way allowing for new digital voices to be heard in the Hollywood landscape, insiders say digital is promising but it’s not quite where traditional TV and film distribution are yet.
Meanwhile, other digital players, like YouTube Red, are making their moves towards the mainstream. Multi-channel network AwesomenessTV has produced two films that it hopes will be competitive with the rest of the Hollywood films out there. “Before I Fall” is based on the best-selling young adult book series by Lauren Oliver. The script for “Shovel Buddies” was on the 2013 Black List, which also included the scripts for “Cake” and “Spotlight” that year.
“When you’re at a traditional studio, it becomes very difficult to be as nimble than at a new digital studio such as ourselves,” said Matt Kaplan, who left film and TV studio Lionsgate to run AwesomenessTV’s new film division. “We’re able to be opportunistic with the content we make and the distribution we choose to partner with.”
Digital platforms also are more likely to buy a full season of a series rather than commit to just a one-episode pilot.
That said, it’s hard to deny that ultimately for many top-level producers and writers, the ultimate goal at the end of the day still remains to get on TV or in theaters. Even series creators of shows like “Broad City” and “High Maintenance,” which developed a large following online, still sought television deals. Vimeo’s “High Maintenance” will be moving to HBO for its second season, which will tentatively air in 2016.