Apple may be limiting its original programming to family-friendly content according to reports.
According to the Wall Street Journal, this shift towards more conservative content began more than a year ago, when CEO Tim Cook reportedly sat down to view the company’s first scripted drama, Vital Signs.
The show was a semi-biographical tale about hip-hop artist Dr. Dre. It featured characters doing drugs, using guns and participating in an orgy.
People familiar with Apple’s entertainment plans told the Wall Street Journal that Cook spiked the show. Apple couldn’t show it because the content couldn’t taint the company’s pristine brand image.
Apple’s entertainment team must now walk a fine line — one that few in Hollywood would walk. Apple wants high-quality shows with stars and broad appeal. However, those shows cannot have gratuitous sex, profanity or violence.
This approach differs significantly from other original content creators like HBO, Amazon Prime and Netflix. Netflix, for example, built its business off shows like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.” Both shows contain coarse language and sex.
However, Apple isn’t like Netflix. The company has more to lose than potential subscribers. If Apple scares off customers with offensive content, that customer may not buy a new iPhone or MacBook.
Furthermore, a leading producer with Apple’s projects expects the company to postpone the launch of its original programming again, despite doing so twice already.
Apple wants to get its entertainment right. It makes sense — the company has a lot to lose if it doesn’t. Furthermore, the company is trying to expand its services business as iPhone sales slow.
While it’s understandable why Apple wants to avoid edgier content, some of that content is precisely why Netflix and HBO are as popular as they are.