Apple is breaking into the streaming video business, but not necessarily with a whole new service. The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant has original content in the works that will soon be available to consumers — and plans for more that have been compared to Westworld and Stranger Things. A hint toward the true intent of Apple’s streaming plans, however, came when the company created a new series based on late night host James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke segments.
The moves made toward video streaming at Apple have previously led to reports of competition with Netflix or Amazon in terms of original streaming shows. But Jimmy Iovine, the man in charge of Apple Music who has no official title and just goes by “Jimmy,” says that the company’s original programming is meant to be geared toward premium users of the Apple Music app, rather than a new app that would challenge the likes of Netflix.
Speaking in-depth to Variety, Iovine denied that there is any link between Apple’s developments in video content and Netflix’s rise as an original streaming content behemoth. Instead, Apple plans to bolster Apple Music with video content, some of which will be original series. The upcoming six-episode season of new scripted series Vital Signs, created by Dr. Dre, is an early example of new original programming geared toward Apple’s music streaming customers.
Iovine was aware of the coverage of Apple and being compared to Netflix. He disagreed with the depiction of Apple’s moves as entering into competition with Netflix:
“When I read that, or I read that we’re taking on whomever, I say no. To me it’s all one thing. It’s Apple Music, and it happens to have video and audio… It has nothing to do with what Netflix is doing.”
Iovine makes a salient point about Apple Music: it’s not necessarily a competitor with a platform like Netflix. But Apple’s expanded video content could still potentially make it a competitor for Amazon Prime customers, who already have access to streaming content — some of it original — and music. But to build original video content into its music app could give Apple a unique product compared to other streaming services, especially if it can create series as good as Stranger Things.
Iovine may deny that Apple is trying to compete directly with Netflix, but in at least one major way, he is. Ultimately, Apple needs to produce great content for its video services to succeed as only a part of Apple Music and not as its own platform. When comparisons to Stranger Things are made in terms of the content you seek to produce, then the shows themselves are the competition. Apple Music’s video content may be produced and presented differently from Netflix, but the two services will still be competing — if only for viewers’ attention.