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Apple Budgets $1 Billion USD for Original Hollywood Programming: WSJ

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Apple has set a budget of around $1 billion USD to “procure and produce” television shows over the next year, as part of its efforts to crack Hollywood and rival the likes of Netflix, Amazon and traditional production studios.

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported the allocation based on an unnamed source, while noting that the iPhone and iPad maker’s reach could also help it become a serious player in this competitive field. The WSJ‘s sources indicated that Apple was planning to buy and produce 10 TV shows.

Apple will certainly need to make the most of its distribution capabilities, as other big online video players are spending a lot more to attract the hottest new films and TV series into their respective stables.

How does $1 billion compare to other studios? Amazon spent about $1 billion USD on original programing when it entered the market in 2013, and HBO, which is owned by Time Warner, spent about $2 billion USD on content in 2016, the Journal reported. Netflix is expected to spend $6 billion USD this year on programming, whether it’s original or acquired.

Already, Apple has signaled its aims to become a significant Hollywood player with the hiring of Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht — longtime presidents at Sony Pictures Television — in June. The duo behind such hits as “The Blacklist,” “The Goldbergs,” and “Breaking Bad” are tasked with building a slate of world-class content for Apple.

Additionally, this week the company revealed that it has tapped Matt Cherniss, ex-G.M. of WGN America and Tribune Studios, to head development for the original entertainment group.

To date, Apple’s forays into original video have been in support of Apple Music subscription service. The series “Planet of the Apps” debuted this summer and while the “Carpool Karaoke” spinoff from James Corden’s CBS late-night show premiered last week — neither of which impressed critics.

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