A report from The Hollywood Reporter states that tech behemoth Apple Inc. (AAPL - Free Report) is currently developing and filming its first original television series. The article explains that Apple is financing a “top-secret scripted series” starring one of its own executives, Beats co-founder and hip-hop legend Dr. Dre (real name Andre Young).
Mr. Young is to be the star and executive producer of a six-episode series titled Vital Signs. The series is speculated to be distributed via Apple Music, the company's subscription streaming site. Whether Vital Signs will be distributed via Apple TV, the iTunes store, or other Apple platforms (or even a traditional television distributor) has yet to be determined.
The show is a semi-autobiographical depiction of Dr. Dre, with each episode focusing on how Dre’s character deals with an emotional situation. The articles states that Sam Rockwell (Moon) and Mo McCrae (Murder in the First) are also members of the cast.
Veteran music video director Paul Hunter (who is known for Snoop Dog feat. Pharell’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot”) is directing the series. Empire’s – the wildly popular Fox series – co-executive producer and writer Robert Munic was hand-picked by Dr. Dre to write all six episodes and produce Vital Signs. The first season will receive the Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) treatment, meaning all six episodes will be released at once.
Apple does not have a television studio or a television development team. Some of the shows executive producers, though, do have some television experience. The company has experimented with videos on its Apple Music service, such as streaming a Taylor Swift concert video and a visual version of DJ Khaled's radio show. But Vital Signs would mark the first concrete investment for the company in scripted television.
Vital Signs is currently the only scripted original series Apple is financing, though The Hollywood Reporter explains that “the company is said to be open to working with artists who already have a relationship there before staffing up a scripted department.”
The partnership between Apple and Dr. Dre is quite logical, considering their prior relationship. In 2014, Mr. Young and co-founder of Interscope Records Jimmy Iovine sold their popular Beats Electronics to Apple for an astonishing $3 billion.
This partnership is clearing Apple’s plan to initiate competition amongst impending rivals such as Amazon Inc. (AMZN - Free Report) and Netflix. Apple was at the forefront of how individuals listen to music, essentially creating a music consumption revolution.
Instead of listening to mp3 files on a CD, individuals can download those same files, and store them either on a computer’s hard-drive or a portable hard-drive with mp3 playback capabilities (i.e. the iPod). This concept is now considered obsolete with the advent of streaming music via the cloud, another revolutionary music consumption method Apple is a part of.
If Vital Signs is mildly successful and allows individuals creative freedom with developing a series, do not be surprised if Apple then creates a television division. The company already has its Apple TV device that allows users to watch streaming television. Apple can easily develop a channel for Apple TV where users can watch all Apple Original series.
But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s see if Dr. Dre can develop a quality show that commands the attention of the public, especially since access to quality television is easier than it’s ever been before.
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