Report: Apple in talks with Hollywood execs about producing original video programming

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is reportedly the latest technology giant to approach Hollywood about producing original programming. 

According to Variety, company executives reporting to Apple content chief Eddie Cue have had recent speculative talks with unnamed entertainment industry executives about producing long-form programming.

Apple's interest in original programming was also underscored, Variety said, by the company's aggressive bidding for Top Gear stars Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond. Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) ended up winning a bidding war for the services of the trio in July, after they left their hit BBC series.

It's unclear whether Apple's content ambitions would serve the virtual MVPD service it's reportedly developing, its transactional iTunes store, or both enterprises. It's also unclear whether Apple would work with established entertainment companies like Netflix does, or if it would attempt to set up its own development and production units, as is the case with Amazon.

Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is leading an arms race among online video suppliers in programming investments. The SVOD company said it has budgeted $5 billion on content spending in 2016, with original program production occupying an even greater percentage of the pie. "We will devote more investment to originals both in absolute dollars and percentage terms," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told investors in July.

Hulu and Amazon have responded by significantly increasing their spending on original movies and TV shows, all in an effort to brand their subscription services as essential with exclusive hits and decrease their reliance on traditional program suppliers.

The possible movement of tech giants like Apple into vertically integrated producers and distributors of programming has, of course, competitive relevance to traditional pay-TV operators, most of which do not yet possess the wherewithal to produce their own programming. 

For more:
- read this Variety story

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