Apple announced today that it signed a multi-year content partnership with actress, philanthropist, and talk-show host Oprah Winfrey. The partnership is the latest in a series of moves Apple has made to bolster its original programming efforts. Winfrey’s content will be released as part of Apple’s lineup, but it’s still unclear when and where Apple will debut the bulk of its planned original content.
Monetary details of the deal have not be disclosed. According to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, the partnership is non-exclusive as Winfrey will remain chairman and CEO of OWN, her cable network backed by Discovery.
Apple’s statement says that Winfrey will create content that embraces “her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world.” Reports suggest that Winfrey may not only make a certain type of content for Apple—the deal supposedly covers movies, TV shows, books, applications, and more. Snagging a partnership with Winfrey is one of Apple’s biggest gets yet in terms of talent, especially considering Netflix and Amazon were reportedly also in talks with the star.
One year ago, Apple hired former Sony execs Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg to lead its original programming efforts. Since then, the company pledged $1 billion to go towards original content and it’s inked about 12 content deals, many of which are straight-to-series programs. These deals include a series about a morning show starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories, and an animated series from the creator of Bob’s Burgers.
Apple plans to release a slew of original programming in March 2019 or the summer thereafter, although the platform on which these programs will live remains unclear. It’s possible the company will lump all this content into Apple Music, its music streaming subscription service that costs $9.99 per month. Ultimately, Apple is late to the party—Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and others have been penning content partnerships for years, gleaning only bigger and bigger names as time progresses. Netflix recently signed Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy, and Amazon recently made a deal with Nicole Kidman to have her Blossom Films production company make original content.
History proves that having Oprah Winfrey on your side usually brings good things and a lot of money, so Apple’s original content will likely receive a boost from this partnership. So while Apple may not have time on its side, it does have about $285 billion at its disposal to further advance its content offerings and streaming services.
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