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Apple Talks 'Planet of the Apps' at Tech Confab

14 Feb, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

New reality video series bowing on Apple Music streaming service

Despite revolutionizing music and digital media consumption through iTunes, the iPhone and iPad, Apple continues to avoid buying a studio and/or major content holder — despite sitting on $200 billion in free cash and no debt.

Instead, the media giant, through co-creator Ben Silverman, has produced two original TV shows: “Carpool Karaoke” with James Corden from “The Late Late Show”; and “Planet of the Apps,” an ad-free series debuting this spring on Apple Music in which a panel of celebrity judges — Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gary Vaynerchuk and will.i.am (also show co-creator) — rate contestants’ app potential.

Selected apps are then pitched to Lightspeed Venture Partners, a venture capital firm, with the winner receiving $10 million in funding and prominent placement at the Apple Store.

Speaking Feb. 13 at Re/code’s tech confab in Dana Point, Calif., Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet software and services at Apple, was asked why the company hasn’t branched out further into Hollywood.

“We’ve been working with television for a long time and we’ll continue to work with television partners for a long time, whether it’s Netflix or DirecTV or ABC,” Cue said. “With Apple Music, we saw there was an opportunity to do new and creative things that hadn’t been done before.”

Cue believes video can be an important part of Apple Music, the subscription service with more than 20 million subs.

“It’s one of the differentiating factors,” he said.

In addition to weekly episodes, “Apps” will enable viewers (through an app) to explore further within the show about developers, venture capitalists, etc.

“There’s a lot of things we shoot that don’t end up on air,” Cue said, adding that Apple Music’s subscriber base was larger than the viewing numbers of most TV shows. “We think we have a great audience, it’s a worldwide audience. It’s a world show.”

The executive said Apple eschews the traditional merger and acquisition strategy into Hollywood (i.e. Comcast/NBC Universal and AT&T/Time Warner), preferring its own path.

“We think we have a real opportunity in the TV space to do that with Apple Music," he said. "The things we’re doing aren’t being done by anyone else. That’s what we’re bringing to the table. That’s what we like to do.”



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