The video streaming wars are hotting up. Apple has hired a former WarnerMedia executive to work on in-house film development, indicating that it plans to increase the output of original content on its Apple TV+ streaming service, The Information (opens in new tab) reports.
Jessie Henderson, the former executive vice president of feature films for WarnerMedia’s HBO Max streaming service, joins other recent hires, including Spotify executive Erika Clarke, former Lifetime executive Colleen Grogan and Zennen Clifton from 3BD Networks, as Apple looks to strengthen its content team.
When it first launched in 2019, Apple pitched its streaming service not as a replacement for Netflix or Amazon but as a more affordable offering that people might subscribe to on top of their existing premium streaming service.
While most streaming platforms bolster their original content with big TV shows and movies from third parties, the Cupertino giant has relied on a much smaller catalogue of Apple Originals, with its strategy regarding film production described as "modest and carefully considered, no more than 12 movies a year".
However, that number looks set to increase with Apple having signed a multi-year deal with Skydance for animated shows and films, and a first-look deal for movies with Imagine Entertainment, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s production company. Apple also acquired the Sundance film CODA for a record $25 million.
In seeking to broaden its offering and build investment in original film production, Apple appears to have recognised that in an increasingly crowded market place a range of exclusive content is crucial to entice subscribers; just last week, Netflix, the worlds biggest streaming service with an enviable catalogue, inked a deal that will give it exclusive rights to all Sony’s upcoming films.
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