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Breaking Bad execs move to Apple to lead original video content – Ars Technica




Enlarge/ The fourth-generation Apple TV.

Apple just made its most serious move into original video content we’ve seen to date. The company announced that it hired Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, presidents from Sony Pictures Television, to fill newly created positions that oversee “all aspects of video programming.” Erlicht and Van Amburg are credited with elevating Sony’s television business by developing shows including Breaking Bad, Rescue Me, and The Blacklist. Erlicht and Van Amburg will report to Apple’s Eddy Cue, who is responsible for the company’s services business.

Apple’s original video content plans have been slowly developing: last year the company announced a few original shows to air exclusively on Apple Music, the company’s $10-per-month music streaming service. Carpool Karaoke: The Series was the mostly highly anticipated title, as it’s an expanded version of James Corden’s popular late night segment. Apple delayed the release of Carpool Karaoke: The Series—it was slated to debut in April 2017 but will now debut this August—while Planet of the Apps, a Shark Tank-like reality show, recently came out on Apple Music.

Aside from these endeavors, Apple doesn’t have much experience developing original, scripted video content. Erlicht and Van Amburg will help Apple do that, and in turn help it compete with the other video streaming companies dominating today. Netflix and Amazon have increased their original content over the past few years, with Netflix pledging 1,000 hours of its library to original programming in 2017. The quality of original programming from providers like Netflix is getting better as well, which is an increasing factor for people who are now choosing online video streaming over traditional cable.

Erlicht and Van Amburg will also likely have to decide where this new original programming will live within Apple’s ecosystem. Judging by the current state of affairs, the obvious answer is Apple Music. But Apple Music is primarily a music streaming service, and there are undoubtedly subscribers who won’t care about video content on this kind of platform. Rumors have been circulating that Apple planned to build its own video streaming platform, but nothing has come to fruition yet.

Regardless of where the new video content lives, it will probably be restricted to Apple devices and services. Only Apple Music subscribers can watch Carpool Karaoke: The Series and Planet of the Apps, and while it’s not confirmed yet, Apple Music will likely be the sole native music streaming service on the company’s new Homepod speaker. The $349 Homepod isn’t scheduled to come out until December, and we don’t know yet if other services like Spotify will be supported or how AirPlay will work on the device. However, the assumption is that Apple’s native and exclusive services will keep customers loyal to the devices that deliver them, such as iPhone and Apple TV.

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