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Apple's video efforts slated to air in March 2019

Apple's push into producing original video content may come to fruition next year, according to a group of entertainment executives familiar with content and release plans, with new programming created via Apple's heavy investment potentially viewable by customers as soon as March 2019.




Unnamed producers and entertainment executives who have recently talked to Apple's executives advised to the New York Times the new shows currently under development is being targeted for rollout somewhere between March next year and the summer. While it is almost certain that other video projects will arrive before the alleged release window, the supposed timeframe relates to content specifically created as part of Apple's funding efforts from the last year.

The same group also suggest Apple is seemingly leaning towards projects that keep with "its bright, optimistic brand identity." This may be seen as a "safer" route for content production that is more likely to be welcomed by viewers, with Apple supposedly shying away from programming that could be considered "gratuitously dark or heavy on social issues."

It was reported last year that Apple was investing approximately $1 billion into original video programming, but the report suggests Apple will easily extend the budget past that figure. It is claimed in recent months that it has outspent Facebook and YouTube's own original content efforts, as well as traditional TV studios, as well as defeating main competitor Netflix in some bidding wars.

A lot of this spending has taken place recently, with Apple increasing its content acquisition considerably in the last five months. Deals to produce 12 projects have been made by Apple since October alone, including nine "straight-to-series" orders without producing a pilot.

Notable deals include a revival of Amblin Television's sci-fi anthology series "Amazing Stories," a drama starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, an animated musical series from the creator of "Bob's Burgers,", and a partnership for content from high-profile rapper Drake.

Apple has also signed a lease for a building in Culver City, CA., which is expected to be its content-related headquarters. The office building, expected to open in late 2019 according to Variety, will include 128,000 square feet of office space across four stories and is minutes away away from another 85,000-square-foot production facility it has been linked to since last year.

It is also believed Apple's video efforts, under the name Apple Worldwide Video and headed by former Sony Pictures Television executives Jamie Ehrlicht and Zach Van Amburg, employs approximately 40 staff, and is creating divisions for adult drama, children, Latin American, and European programming.

Despite the expenditure's size, it is still dwarfed by Netflix's plans to spend up to $8 billion on content in 2018 alone. As revealed in an interview with Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue at SXSW earlier this month, the strategy to go for fewer shows is intentional with Cue advising "we're not after quantity, we're after quality."

"When you think of content, first of all, and you can see that here at South by Southwest, great storytelling is important," mused Cue, adding "you get great storytelling from big name people, and you get it from new and up-and-comers." Cue claims this lesson came from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs when he ran animation studio Pixar, at a time when it created its earliest hit movies.