Is This the Best Apple Can Do with “Original TV Content?”

MacRumors discusses Apple’s plans for its first “original content” TV series, Planet of the Apps.

The format of the show is similar to that of fellow talent-based reality shows The Voice and Shark Tank. Aspiring app developers descend down an escalator while pitching four judges on their idea. By the time they get to the bottom, the judges must swipe left or right to demonstrate whether they’re interested. If multiple judges swipe right on a contestant, the contestant gets to choose who they want to pair with. Once paired, the developer goes through an incubator period, getting advise from developers at big companies like Uber, until it’s ready enough to pitch to Lightspeed Venture Partners for funding.

Is this really the best they can do? Can’t they do more than a lowest-common denominator talent show? Sure, it’s about apps, and that links it to Apple, but this seems like they’re targeting a pretty low level of viewers.

With a reality TV star president, I think the time is right to pull back on these cheap, sensational shows. I’ve never watched reality shows, and, while I admit some may actually have merits – The Great British Bake-Off, for example – this is just mindless entertainment for the masses. I think this type of TV content sets the bar very low for Apple.

According to MacRumors, Eddy Cue said that:

Apple only wants to make shows that are unique and “create culture.”

A reality show isn’t creating culture, it’s copying a format that is tired. Reality TV is the Android phone of TV shows, and Apple could surely do better.

6 thoughts on “Is This the Best Apple Can Do with “Original TV Content?”

  1. I lost interest at the escalator. Is there one “reality” show in Netflix’s top ten? Top 100? Apple could produce some great content promoting tech. This isn’t it.

    • I don’t know where they stand in popularity on Netflix, but there are quite a few of them (at least here in the UK). Though I don’t see reality shows as something people would watch on Netflix. But, hey, I never watch them anyway.

  2. For starters they could stop combining the anachronistic term “tv” with “content” and “shows”! That is, to me, the first clue that Apple doesn’t understand what is happening in this market. “TV” is a specific “screen”; “television” was a broadcast format, that fundamentally was competition-limited and time-inflexible. Continuing to use the “TV” label with “Shows” (see iTunes!) tells me that Apple doesn’t even know WHAT it is trying to do. They should be working to make the “TV” a screen that they control (Apple TV), and produce content in the form of episodic story-telling, “Shows”, that redefines what consumers want. They are not off to a good start. Their competition against the “television”-era-empowered old guard—Nettlix, Amazon, and HBO—on the other hand are KILLING IT.

    Putting my money where my mouth is, here is what I believe Apple needs to do: Apple has a unique opportunity to provide content across so many different devices. Can you imagine, instead of just the “water cooler” discussion about Sunday night’s ‘The Walking Dead’, a Notification would go on Thursday at 11am that a MUST SEE moment had just occurred “in universe” and you needed to immediately watch a 15 minute show? How many people would be skipping that project status meeting that the boss had scheduled, instead standing in line for the bathroom for a suspicious 15 minute constitutional?? Or, you could choose to follow a character, and you’d get Notification and Updates that were based ONLY on that character; NO! you can’t choose 2! You’d have to go to friends to find out what Daryl had done because you follow Sasha! Television was aggravatingly linear, and artificially spontaneous. And television is dead. “New content” needs to adapt to the screens we have, and part of that is adopting the TV as the “gathering point in front of a large screen” that it is. I’m OK with the “TV app” in iOS 10; but the “TV Shows” in iTunes need to go. I don’t just watch shows on my TV, I watch Movies there too. And I don’t watch much “television programming” at all… in fact, I don’t even have television in my home at all. That I watch episodic content reminiscent of a by-gone era on my TV and iDevices is merely a side-effect of the momentum of the status quo, not innovative.

  3. Kirk, I enjoy your podcasts and website posts. I’ve purchased some of your books. But I have to say when you dismiss me as a “pretty low level of viewer” because I think Planet of the Apps sounds like a fun show, you come across as a bit of a snob. What’s wrong with a little mindless entertainment? Why is it Apples job to educate viewers or add culture to their lives? Couldn’t Planet of The Apps be seen as a way to get a whole lot of young people excited about programming, or do you think “the masses” would be better served with a series of documentaries on the RSC that you and 11 other people would watch? OK, now I’ve got to get home to the trailer park so I can fall asleep drunk in front of the TV watching Laverne and Shirley

  4. When he created the NeXT computer, Steve Jobs bundled the complete works of Shakespeare as indexed, searchable rtf files. He didn’t provide a database of National Enquirer back issues.

  5. “The Great British Bake-Off” is the iPhone of so-called reality shows (Are the Olympics or Super-Bowl reality shows?) I’d rather watch them … “BAKE!”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.