Apple will invest approximately $1 billion in acquiring and producing original TV shows over the next year, according to The Wall Street Journal.The investment could result in as many as 10 new shows, a source told the publication, with the iPhone-maker looking to match the high-quality output of networks like HBO.
Apple’s budget looks substantial, but is just table-stakes. HBO spent about $2 billion on content last year, while Amazon spent around $1 billion in 2013, the year after it leapt into original programming. Netflix, meanwhile, is expected to spend more than $6 billion in 2017, according to The Wall Street Journal. Making TV is expensive, with season six of Game of Thrones reportedly costing $10 million per episode. Comedies are much cheaper, costing around $2 million per episode, while a drama can carry a fee of $5 million per episode.
Apple already produces some original content including reality show Planet of the Apps, and Carpool Karaoke, but they haven’t been as well received. Still, its $1 billion investment in original content is a smart one. Netflix’s success is credited in part to the popularity of critically-acclaimed shows like House of Cards, and if Apple can produce a hit, it could be central to making its name in online streaming. The company even poached a pair of executives from Sony recently to hunt out such promising shows.