Apple threatens to jump into original TV programming


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It’s like playing the guitar hard! Why would anyone even try???

Just look at Netflix, which only has, like, two ongoing cultural phenomenon shows that everyone talks about and win all the awards. Two! After spending $3 billion this year on original programming and committing to $5 billion next year! So says The Wall Street Journal and Motley Fool, with plenty of snorts and harrumphs thrown in.


And woe is NBCUniversal president & CEO Steve Burke! Just today, he whined about how much original programming on TV today. “People are starting to realize there’s too much here,” he lamented. FX CEO John Landgraf said much the same thing in August. What they’re really upset about is that the sheer number of quality shows out there—accessible on demand 24/7—means their crappy shows aren’t being watched by default anymore.

Listen up, network executives and investment gurus. Here’s a little lesson in capitalism for you. Competition creates losers. If you don’t want to be one, don’t produce crappy products. Don’t invest in crappy products. And don’t sit around defend crappy products when someone else comes along and threatens to produce a better one.

Right now, Apple is making loud noises about how awesome its original TV programming would be, if it had any. Rumor is Apple is this close to hoovering up Hollywood’s top talent to start cranking out new shows for Apple TV. The Journal and the Fool are begging Apple to beg off. Meanwhile, the Happy Nice Time Kitty is cheering wildly.

Netflix is a huge success story, not a cautionary tale. If anything, Netflix proves how quickly an outsider can make it to the top. How many House of Cards/Orange Is the New Black-sized TV series are Showtime, or Starz, or AMC, or FX, or MTV, or Lifetime sitting on right now? Any of those channels would be pissing themselves with joy to be holding Netflix’s roster of original shows. Only HBO could be considered to be in Netflix’s league for quality or success.

Not only should Apple try to emulate Netflix’s success, but so should everybody else already in the TV business—especially you, NBC and FX! Quit bitching and do better! Because it’s not going to be newcomers like Apple who find themselves getting crushed beneath the weight of all that original programming out there. It’s gonna be all the old school crap factories who couldn’t think of anything better to do about the competition than whine at it.

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