21st Century Fox CEO sees Apple as only “dabbling” in original content

21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch has referred to Apple’s attempt at creating original TV content as them just “dabbling” in the creative original content space.

In early 2018, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated his company had big plans and the original TV content on Apple Music was just a “toe in the water”, but they had bigger ambitions. However, since the release of Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke, it appears Apple’s big ambitions for original content have come to a halt.

In James Murdoch’s eyes, Apple cannot compete on the same scale as the likes of Netflix. In an interview at Recode’s Code Conference this week, he was asked what advice he would give non-media companies trying to enter the industry and he talked of the need to encourage creativity from producers.

“But understanding how to manage a creative business, understanding the diversity of output you’ll be required to have and to encourage, and also, in our case at least, we’ve been very entrepreneurial in how we do it. We really try to empower our creators, and our creative partners, and our creative executives to go out and really try to push the envelope in terms of kind of changing the way we tell stories constantly, trying to really do things that are excellent, we often fail. And I think being tolerant of failure is important.”

He went on to say that Apple were tackling the industry “piece by piece, one by one, show by show”, and were not giving themselves time to produce “something mega”. Apple is reportedly working on 13 original shows currently, but exactly when they will launch is still in question.

Apple reportedly have a $1 billion “war chest” for these shows, while in comparison Netflix is spending up to $8 on original content in 2018 alone. Murdoch does acknowledge that Netflix’s strategy involved “enormous bets” and is “in anticipation of potentially their not being able to acquire rights from outside programmers”. Another big rival for Apple is Hulu who is producing very popular original shows including The Handmaid’s Tale and Marvel’s Runaways. 

Murdoch also spoke on 21st Century Fox’s potential deal with Disney. Rumours suggest they are planning to sell parts of their media assets, however, Murdoch did not go into detail.

Do you think Apple will be able to tackle the likes of Netflix?

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