Apple’s ambitions around creating original content seem set to grow: The Wall Street Journal reports that it has a budget of around $1 billion to spend on creating its own programming next year. That’s a budget that begins to approach those of dedicated content creators like HBO, which spent just around twice that last year on its own shows.
Apple’s first forays into original content came this year, with shows including ‘Carpool Karaoke’ and ‘Planet of the Apps,’ which debuted on Apple Music. The WSJ report suggests Apple could add as many as 10 more TV shows to its offerings next year using the newly allocated budget. Apple’s SVP Eddy Cue, who oversees its streaming music and video content, reportedly has a goal of offering content on par with HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ on the company’s streaming offerings.
Spending the funds will be the task of Apple’s hires from Sony’s entertainment wing, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who took over leading programming duties earlier this month according to the WSJ’s sources. With dedicated staff and a broader slate of programming, it seems possible Apple could separate out its streaming video efforts from Apple Music, though the company might want to keep the two services linked to drive overall subscriptions.
$1 billion may seem like a lot, but rival streaming content producers spend a lot on creating their own programming. Amazon Prime Video spent that much early on in their plan to create their own shows in 2013, and reportedly plans to spend $4.5 billion in 2017. Netflix is set to spend $6 billion that year, too. Apple has no shortage of cash, of course, so it could easily ramp up spending if it sees success next year.
So far, its shows have received a very poor critical reception. Both ‘Planet of the Apps’ and ‘Carpool Karaoke’ were dragged in initial reviews. But that seems not to have deterred Apple. In fact, if this report is accurate, early stumbles may only have convinced the company that it needs to be less casual in its approach to original content in order to succeed.