As first reported by Variety, the tech giant has been quietly meeting with Hollywood execs to discuss producing entertainment properties for Apple’s devices and services. The initiative is being led by Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet software and services.
In one scenario, Apple would debut exclusive TV shows or other content as part of a larger TV and video service in September, when it is expected to unveil the iPhone 7, TheStreet.com reported Friday, citing an anonymous source.
In addition to exploring original programming, Apple has been in talks with TV networks about assembling a bundle of channels that would be delivered over broadband — an over-the-top play to take on pay-TV giants like Comcast and AT&T.
In one example of Apple’s keen interest in securing exclusive TV content, the company made an aggressive bid to sign the stars of the U.K.’s “Top Gear” when they quit their BBC series last year, Variety reported, before Amazon ultimately won the bidding war.
For Apple, original content would boost the value of its constellation of hardware, including the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV set-top. While Apple is still immense — it reported $75.9 billion in revenue and $18.4 billion net income for its fiscal Q1 2016, both quarterly records — sales of iPad tablets continued to fall and iPhone unit shipments were flat for the period.
Apple declined to comment.