Is Apple Being Too Careful About TV/Movie Productions On OTT Platforms?

What is Apple's approach to TV/movie productions? Be careful and safe.

Apple could be focusing on safe content quality for its productions -- in the “family-friendly” vein -- according to The Wall Street Journal. Think TV/movie content without violence, politics and risqué story lines.

In a somewhat related move, Apple has delayed many of its new TV shows coming online. For many big-time TV producers of programming -- whether a Netflix, Amazon, HBO, CBS, NBC, or Fox -- production delays are common.

This year, Apple could spend up to $2 billion in TV/movie productions, according to estimates. That's no chump change for sure. But for Apple? Just a drop in the bucket.

It seems Apple has two goals here: First, to appeal to the widest possible audience. Second, and more importantly, to avoid a possible backlash when it comes to consumers issues regarding its iPhone, iPads and other electronic devices.

Here’s the rub: Consumers increasingly expect a wide range of content: Adult, family-friendly, independent, and wide-screen popular release -- especially when it comes to movies.

But Apple can only succeed if it takes chances with varied content. A significant portion of TV/movie content will always fail -- no matter what. And perhaps not for reasons easily to figure out.

Just go back and listen to any broadcast or cable network entertainment chief explain and scratch their heads when asked by TV critics -- at the twice yearly Television Critics Association meetings -- why certain shows that those executives loved, tested great, and hired the best people for, didn’t work.

Now, for Apple, it seems to adding additional impossible components: Don’t use swear words, show violence, or get too racy. The hope: Apple won’t find customers rebelling with social-media content featuring smashing or burning of iPhones.

This runs a fine line of dealing with an ever-fluid success/failure rate on TV. Some say that certain areas of TV content creation have only a 10% success rate for TV shows. Maybe less. For reality shows, according to one estimate, the success rate is 24.6%.

Even then, the shows that seemingly “make” it on a broadcast network’s schedule, cable network or SVOD service -- may only be for a few episodes, 9, 12 or 15.

One key would be to define -- and perhaps calculate in a new video world -- what "success" means when it comes to TV on traditional TV network platforms (broadcast and cable), OTT platforms and even short-form video.

When you figure it out -- and come up with the all-important algorithm -- Apple will thank you for it.

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