When Apple makes this kind of move, you should follow.

 

They were a little late to the party.

 

But Apple finally got there. (I wonder if they would have arrived on time or even early, had the prophet Steve Jobs still been with us, or had been more active in his final years.)

What party am I talking about?

 

The O.C., baby . . . Original Content.

 

At their latest Apple product announcement on March 25th, there was no slick new iPhone to talk about.  And iPads are starting to feel a little iPodish to me.

 

Instead, the fruit-monikered “computer company” who made it easy for us to <em>consume</em> content through iTunes and on AppleTV made it clear that their next push would be about creating content for those same platforms.  (The invitations to the event were even headlined with, “It’s showtime!”)

 

To emphasize how serious they are . . . get this . . . they made it public that they are <a href=”https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/16/16155600/apple-original-tv-content-1-billion-investment”>investing $1 billion</a> into making new “tv” programs with some of Hollywood’s top names (Spielberg, JJ Abrams) and some newcomers as well.

 

That’s a doozy of an investment, don’t you think?

 

And when a company like Apple makes that kind of investment, it means there’s a heck of an opportunity on the horizon, even though they’re not the first to market.

 

Obviously, this paradigm shift for Apple is a direct challenge to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and all the other platforms that have been making stuff like crazy over the past few years.  (Netflix alone is putting <a href=”http://fortune.com/2018/07/08/netflix-original-programming-13-billion/”>$13 billion</a> into the original content race.)

 

Not to mention HBO, which was the first non-major network to invest heavily in new programming and see massive results. (While they started doing this decades ago, HBO hit their stride with Sopranos and Sex and the City in the early 2000s.)

 

What’s the takeaway here?

 

Content isn’t just King. Kings can be tried for treason and beheaded in the town square.  (That’s an HBO Original Content <em>Game of Thrones </em>reference, btw).

 

Content is the whole effin’ Kingdom.

 

It’s the land.  It’s the most powerful thing there is in entertainment.

 

So listen up . . . if you’re not investing in original content in whatever business you’re in (but yeah, I’m talking about the theater primarily, duh), and if you’re not creating new content yourself, then you’re missing out on the arts-oil wells of the future.

 

And the cool thing is . . . when it works, creating original content fuels the soul and the bank account.

 

So take a cue from Apple . . . create something original. It might take a little bit longer to get to market, and you might have to sweat a little bit more along the way, but as Thorton Wilder said, “Every excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor edge of danger . . . and must be fought for.”

 

Go make something today.

 

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  • DJ Salisbury says:

    O.C. is what I do. The challenge with theatre material as potential TV/broadcast material? Getting the gatekeepers who know Film/TV to wrap their minds around ‘filmed theatre’ as product that does indeed have an enthusiastic audience…. even material that does not already have a Broadway stamp. I look forward to the possibility that- as has happened with Be More Chill and Moulin Rouge (and let’s be clear-The Greatest Showman is sure to be in the pipeline) – theatrical works (musicals, specifically) are presented FIRST as film/TV/ web offerings THEN move into live presentations. But those gatekeepers who don’t appreciate theatre’s forms? How does one educate them? Heck, Apple should hire someone like me to field pitches of theatrical fare… easier than retraining those from a completely different medium, no?

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Ken Davenport
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