This seems like a weird idea to me. Why would Apple care about "original content"?

The network of competitors/partners in the TV & film industry are pretty confusing at the moment. I guess the logic here is that Apple currently has its Apple TV hardware product, but wants to be pushing the Movies & TV aspect of the iTunes Store harder. So - exclusive content would help it to compete to be the first port of call for people wanting to download video stuff.

But video stuff covers a lot — for example;

  • TV stuff that is free-to-air
  • TV stuff that is part of a paid-for TV subscription package (ie. Sky or Virgin in the UK.)
  • TV stuff that is part of a paid-for on-demand package (eg. Netflix, Amazon Prime.)
  • Free online video (eg. YouTube)
  • Must-watch films (ie. the stuff that, if it isn't available on subscription services like Netflix, people will pay to rent/buy from somewhere like iTunes.)

Right now, Apple's TV platform (ie. "Apple TV" + "iTunes Store") sits very much in that bottom point — I don't think anyone is discovering films or TV shows they had never heard of in iTunes.

But - you can still use your Apple TV to access other content. Netflix has long been available on pretty much any device that supports it, and has been on Apple TV for as long as I can remember. HBO Now launched exclusively on Apple devices - sitting in the "paid TV" category.

I guess the thing is that Apple TV/iTunes Store are two things. One is a hardware platform - a box that puts video stuff on your telly. The other is a distribution platform - a place to go to get content.

If Apple want to focus on the iTunes Store, then they should be looking at exclusive content — a reason to go to Apple first for video. And that would make the Apple TV a better product.

But if they want to focus on the Apple TV, then they should be looking at partnerships — making sure that Amazon customers, Netflix subscribers, YouTube fans, Blu-Ray buyers with their download codes etc. all get their stuff on their TVs with as little hassle as possible.

Traditionally, Apple's approach has been about making better software to sell their hardware. Developing exclusive content for the Apple TV feels like a different direction.

I guess we will see next week when they (probably) unveil the new Apple TV.